Sen. Manny Pacquiao (left) and President Duterte (right) before their PDP-Laban feud erupted
By Junex Doronio
September 7, 2021
LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu — A day before the PDP-Laban faction of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi will hold its national convention in Pampanga to officially nominate its 2022 candidates, it has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare the camp of senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as “illegitimate.”
On behalf of the Duterte-Cusi faction of PDP-Laban. Lawyer Antonio Zulueta filed the petition on Tuesday, September 7.
“PDP Laban has filed a case in the Comelec against the group usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of our party,” secretary-general Melvin Matibag said.
The Duterte-Cusi faction also applied for an “extremely urgent” issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of a preliminary injunction against the Pacquiao-Pimentel group.
“The matter is now with the Comelec and we will let the established law, rules, and regulations prevail. We shall refrain from discussing the specific issues raised in our petition out of respect to the commission,” Matibag further said.
Duterte and Pacquiao who used to be allies had a falling out when the world boxing icon and senator criticized the President’s “soft stance” on the West Philippine Sea and later exposed the corruption in government.
For his part, Pimentel — whose late father former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. founded the PDP-Laban — castigated the other faction for eyeing an “outsider” to be the standard-bearer for the 2022 polls, referring to presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who heads the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Pimentel said he prefers Pacquiao to be the presidential candidate of PDP-Laban.
Some political observers said considering the Comelec is dominated by Duterte appointees, there is a great chance that it may favor the Duterte-Cusi faction and the “battle” is expected to reach the Supreme Court. (ai/mtvn)