COTABATO CITY – The national council of the “original” Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) ousted President Duterte as party chair of the faction, which has drafted him as vice presidential bet in the 2022 polls.
The “old guards” and community members of the party elected Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III in lieu of Duterte in its election of new set of officer today, Sunday, Aug. 29, online reports said.
The council election was held virtually by “original” members of the ruling party, with Senator Manny Pacquiao tuning in while on his flight to Manila from the Unites Stated, reports attributed to Ron Munsayac said.
It also officially elected Sen. Pacquiao as party president, a position he held on acting capacity after Sen. Pimentel appointed him months ago.
In December 2020, many PDP-Laban members questioned Pacquiao’s appointment and formed the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Last July 17, Cusi’s wing elected him party president alongside a new set of officers, ousting Pacquiao.
According to Munsayac, executive director of the party’s Pimentel wing, former Eastern Samar Governor Lutgardo Barbo, as vice chairman, and House Deputy Speaker and Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnie Teves as secretary general.
Last July, the Pimentel wing sent to the Commission on Elections its required sworn information update statement (SIUS), which recognized Duterte then as party chairman.
The rival faction submitted early this month its version of SIUS with new set of officer led by Duterte as chairman and Cusi as president.
The SIUS submission deadline has lapsed. But Munsayac reportedly said their camp will try to submit an addendum containing the Pimentel faction’s new set of officers.
It will be up to the Comelec, now composed of many Duterte’s appointees, to settle the party legitimacy issue.
The Comelec and the Supreme Court had acknowledged the legitimacy of Pimentel’s camp when the party similarly faced infighting prior to the 2019 midterm elections.
President Duterte once said in a televised message last July that the PDP-Laban intramurals would turn into a legal battle. (AGM)