2022 Philippine Elections

Ex-Duterte allies in party row: ‘We will fight back against hijackers’

Aika Rey

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Ex-Duterte allies in party row: ‘We will fight back against hijackers’

FIGHTING 'HIJACKERS.' Senator Aquilino Pimentel III hits the Cusi faction of PDP-Laban as 'suwapang.'


(1st UPDATE) Senator Koko Pimentel, son of PDP-Laban founder Nene Pimentel, says the Duterte camp used their party as vehicle to power, only to later drive the 'originals' away

Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, son of PDP-Laban founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., vowed to fight back against “greedy” hijackers who used their 38-year-old party to bring Rodrigo Duterte to power.

“We will formally fight back against the hijackers. We will formally declare as correct what we have been doing all along,” said Pimentel in an assembly on Sunday, September 19, where party president Senator Manny Pacquiao launched his presidential bid.

Duterte’s party PDP-Laban is divided into two factions – one led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and another led by Senator Manny Pacquiao – as part of power struggles ahead of the 2022 presidential elections. Pimentel chairs the Pacquiao faction, calling themselves “the originals.”

Ex-Duterte allies in party row: ‘We will fight back against hijackers’

At the national assembly led by Pacquiao, Pimentel said the party will resist moves by the Cusi faction to take over the party his father founded.

Kung ang PDP-Laban ay maitutulad natin sa isang sasakyan, meron pong nakasakay sa ating sasakyan na ngayon ay tayo na ang pinapaalis o pinapalabas sa ating sasakyan. Mukhang nagandahan sila sa ating sasakyan o baka naman sadyang mga kolektor ito ng saksakyan. Ang dami na nilang sasakyan,” Pimentel said

(If we can liken PDP-Laban to a vehicle, there are people riding our vehicle who are now driving us away or forcing us out of our vehicle. Perhaps they liked our car, or they are simply car collectors. They already have a lot of cars.)

Napakasakim at suwapang naman nila (They are greedy and rapacious),” he said.

Duterte’s vehicle

PDP-Laban became President Rodrigo Duterte’s political vehicle when he ran for the presidency in 2016.

Five years later, Duterte would deride PDP-Laban as a “father-and-son party” before he joined it. “May I just remind Koko that this party, PDP, was asleep for a hundred years. It only woke up during the election when I ran for the presidency under the ticket,” said Duterte in July this year.

In turn, PDP-Laban is now also hitting Duterte, reminding the public that the party was founded to fight the Marcos dictatorship, yet it was Duterte who gave Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial in 2016.

The infighting within the party started in 2018, ahead of the senatorial elections, when Cusi’s group wanted to support political candidates that the “original” PDP-Laban did not support.

The war between the two factions escalated when Duterte supposedly ordered Cusi to hold their own council meeting in Cebu City that Pimentel and Pacquiao’s group did not organize. Cusi’s camp later elected their own officials.

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The Cusi-led group held its own national convention on September 8, nominating a Bong Go-Duterte tandem for the 2022 elections.

It is now a waiting game between the two factions as to which camp would be recognized by the Commission on Elections as legitimate. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.