The Cusi wing of the PDP-Laban insisted that Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s declaration on Saturday as the standard-bearer in the 2022 elections was illegal.
According to the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Sec Alfonso Cusi and supported by President Rodrigo Duterte, the national assembly of the Pacquiao wing was said to be comedy-like.
“‘Yung assembly nila is a comedy now, but there is a drama. [It] will probably end in a tragedy,” said PDP-Laban Cusi wing secretary-general Melvin Matibag.
It will be recalled that Sen Bong Go will be the desired standard-bearer of the Cusi wing in 2022, while Duterte will be the VP.
But Sen. Koko Pimentel, an ally of Pacquiao and the son of one of the founders of PDP-Laban, said they would not allow their party to be hijacked.
“Hindi po natin papayagan ang pag-hijack ng ating partido. Tayong lahat, isa lang ang partido natin: ang PDP-Laban. ‘Yung kabila patalon-talon ng partido. If convenient for them, they will join. If no longer convenient, they will destroy,” said Pimentel.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will decide which faction will be recognized as legitimate for the 2022 elections.
According to veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, the Comelec cannot recognize both factions of one party.
Resolving the PDP-Laban grievance up to Comelec
“Hindi puwedeng dalawa kasi magkakaroon ng confusion ang taumbayan kung sino talaga ang kanilang ihahalal… Kung dalawa ang nagke-claim diyan, sino ang pupuntahan ng election return? Si Pacquiao ba o kay Cusi? ‘Yun ang dahilan kung bakit kailangan maresolba ng Comelec kung sinong political party ang kikilalanin nila,” he said.
Most of the seven sitting Comelec commissioners are Duterte’s appointees.
However, an ally of Pacquiao urges them to be fair.
“The members of the Comelec should not feel beholden to the appointing authority… The Comelec will decide on the basis of facts and the law,” said PDP-Laban Pacquiao wing vice chairman Lutgardo Barbo.
This issue is expected to be resolved before October.
Meanwhile, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno confirmed that Pacquiao and Vice President Leni Robredo have also talked to him.