SENATOR Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, insisted that his group is the legitimate faction of the PDP-Laban.
“Aantayin natin ang desisyon ng Comelec (Commission on Election) kasi kami naniniwala kami ng kami ang legit na PDP,” Pacquiao, who serves as the president of PDP-Laban faction chaired by Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said in a virtual press conference.
“Ang mahigit isandaang libong members ng PDP naniniwala sa atin at nakasuporta sa atin at nandito sa atin ang database ng partido simula nung ito ay tinatag hanggang sa kasalukuyan,” he added.
Maintaining that he will stay with the PDP-Laban, Pacquiao clarified issues about the conversion of the People’s Champ Movement (PCM) as a national party.
“Ang PCM naman ay partido ng kapatid ko at ‘yung kapatid ko gustong palakihin ang PCM party so 'yun po ang direksyon n’yan,” he said.
“Matagal na 'yang inaapela ng mga kapatid ko na gawing national ang PCM party. Last two elections pa. Ngayon lang nagawa. Nagkataon lang na ngayon lang nagawa,” he added.
Also claiming to be the legitimate group of the party, the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi filed a petition before the Comelec to declare Pacquiao and Pimentel as illegitimate.
PDP-Laban Cusi faction secretary general Melvin Matibag said they filed the case against the Pimentel faction for “usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of the party."
PDP-Laban was founded by Pimentel’s father, the late Senate president Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr. in 1982.
PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac maintained that Pimentel is the only chairman recognized by the grassroots members and senior leaders of the PDP-Laban who have stood by and loyally represented the ideals of the party as envisioned by its founding members.
They also recently ousted President Rodrigo Duterte as the party chairman.
Because of the internal rift in the party, the two factions held their national assemblies separately and endorsed different candidates for the upcoming national elections.
The faction led by Cusi will support Senator Christopher Go and President Rodrigo Duterte while Pimentel’s group is pushing for Pacquiao as presidential candidate.
The Cusi faction held their national convention in Pampanga on Wednesday, September 8, while the Pimentel faction will hold it on September 19.
Pacquiao said they will elect a new set of officers during the convention. (SunStar Philippines)