Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday insisted that they are the legitimate PDP-Laban group after the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi filed a petition against them with the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“Aantayin natin ang desisyon ng Comelec kasi kami naniniwala kami ng kami ang legit na PDP,” Pacquiao said in a virtual press conference.
(We will wait for Comelec’s decision, but we believe that we are the legit PDP-Laban.)
“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.
(More than 100,000 members of the PDP are rallying behind us and we hold the database of the party since the time that it was established.)
On Tuesday, the Cusi-led faction filed a petition with the Comelec to declare Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino 'Koko' Pimentel III as illegal representatives of their party.
PDP-Laban Cusi faction secretary general Melvin Matibag said they they filed the case “against the group usurping party authority and pretending to be representatives of our party.”
“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,” he added.
In reaction to this, Pimentel said they have yet to read the filed document as he also maintained his ties with PDP-Laban since the 1980s.
The senator's father, the late former Senate President Nene Pimentel is the founder of PDP-Laban.
“We need to go over the Petition because I have been with the PDP LABAN since 1980s and I only know of ONE PDP LABAN which my father founded and which I never left together with thousands of party diehards at the grassroots level,” said Pimentel.
Amid the ongoing rift between the two factions, Cusi earlier revealed that Pacquiao cut ties with the PDP-Laban wing, which offered the senator to be included in the party's senatorial slate for Eleksyon 2022.
A week ago, the Pacquiao faction ousted President Rodrigo Duterte as party chairman, replacing him with Pimentel. — RSJ, GMA News