We will not surrender
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said yesterday that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) will ultimately rule on the conflict within the ruling PDP-Laban.
Pimentel vowed not to allow a takeover of the party by the faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who was elected president during a national convention on Friday where erstwhile party president Senator Manny Pacquiao was ousted.
Pimentel, former party president, said the gathering attended by President Duterte did not have the support of a majority of the 10,000 party members.
“We tried to stop them but they seemed to be in a hurry. I reminded him (Cusi) of the things that should be done before meetings of such importance are held. It was hastily done, and this could mean it’s connected with the 2022 elections,” he said in Filipino over dwIZ.
“We can’t stop them anymore. But we will not surrender,” he added.
He said the Comelec may be able to resolve the party discord when both factions submit appropriate documents during the filing of certificates of candidacy and nomination from Oct. 1 to 8.
The Comelec has set for Nov.15 the deadline for substitution of candidates.
The Cusi-led faction – backed by President Duterte – concluded yesterday a two-day assembly in Clark, Pampanga where the removal of Sen. Manny as party president was announced. Pacquiao is in the US for his Aug.21 boxing match with American boxer Errol Spence.
Duterte, in his speech at the convention said that Pimentel might make a move to challenge the election of new PDP-Laban officers.
“Hindi natin alam kung ano ang gagawin sa kabila. Baka nagta-type na si Koko ng petition doon sa Comelec (Perhaps, Koko is now drafting a petition for the Comelec [Commission on Elections]). But tignan natin (let’s see). Let us see. Let us see. Eh iyan ang nag-umpisa ng (He was the one who started the) ruckus,” he said.
Duterte, however, reminded Pimentel that PDP-Laban, which was “asleep for 100 years”, only “woke up during the election and when I ran for the presidency under the ticket”.
Duterte defended the election of Cusi, saying there is nothing in the party’s by-laws “which would provide for an acting president solely upon the push and shove of the president”.
He added that Pimentel “started the ruckus” by appointing Pacquiao as the “acting president” of PDP-Laban.
“You just do not push somebody there. ‘O sige, ikaw na muna mag-presidente’ (‘You can now serve as the president’). That is not how things are done,” Duterte said. “Ang nagkamali diyan si, ang nagkamali diyan si Koko, hindi si Pacquiao (It is Koko’s mistake, not Pacquiao’s). Pacquiao does not know anything.”