The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has directed the group led by Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel inside within the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) to comment on a petition filed by another wing of the ruling party to make their camp “illegitimate”.
In an en banc order dated 22 September, the poll body asked the Pacquiao-led faction to file its response to the appeal filed by its rival group led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi within five days upon receipt.
The Cusi-wing of the ruling party appealed to the Comelec on 7 September to declare Pacquiao and his allies as “illegitimate officers and/or unauthorized representatives” of PDP Laban after it elected its own set of officers.
Lawyer Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of PDP Laban, thanked the Comelec for heeding their request and stressed that it will give the party’s local candidates the “peace of mind” that they will be running under the “legitimate” PDP Laban.
“We thank the Comelec for speedily taking action to our request. This is important because it will give our local candidates the confidence and peace of mind that they will run under the legitimate PDP Laban,” Matibag said in a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
Both camps are claiming to be the legitimate PDP Laban with the Pacquiao faction expressing confidence that it will be favored by the poll body as having the original members of the ruling party.
PDP Laban was founded in 1982 by late Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel — father and namesake Sen. Koko Pimentel.
With both groups confirming that they have submitted their separate Sworn Information Update Statements, the Comelec now has to decide which group truly represents the party.
Pacquiao has recently announced that he is running for President under his PDP Laban wing.
The Cusi-wing, meanwhile, is endorsing Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go and President Rodrigo Duterte as the party’s presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively.