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Cusi-led PDP-Laban wing endorses Bongbong's prexy bid

The PDP-Laban faction under Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has formally endorsed the presidential bid of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in the May 2022 elections.

The group, as shown in a tweet by GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo, approved Resolution No. 26, Series of 2022 on Monday, expressing support for Marcos' presidency.

“After careful and exhaustive deliberations, the National Executive Committee endorses the candidacy of Senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. for President of the Republic of the Philippines [in] the forthcoming 2022 National Elections,” the resolution read.

According to the PDP-Laban faction, Marcos is the candidate whose platform is most aligned with the development program of its current chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte.

“He is the candidate whose vision of governance is most aligned with the PDP-Laban’s 11-point agenda…To promote ‘Unity for Sustainability’ of socio-economic development and national progress,” the resolution further read.

In December 2021, the same faction endorsed the candidacy of Marcos’ running-mate, presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is running under Lakas-CMD.

In a statement, Marcos’ spokesman Atty. Vic Rodriguez welcomed the ruling party’s endorsement.

“We appreciate deeply the PDP-Laban’s kind endorsement of presidential frontrunner Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. The trust it placed in him inspires us beyond measure, for it signals that our message of national unity is gaining ground,” Rodriguez said.

“We are glad the PDP-Laban has joined the bandwagon of support for the BBM-Sara UniTeam of major political parties in the country. It is truly reassuring, but at the same time challenging us to be even more prepared and vigilant in light of growing rumors of possible poll fraud in the coming elections.”

President Duterte has yet to openly endorse any presidential and vice presidential candidate for the upcoming polls.

He earlier said he would not support any candidate unless he would see "a compelling reason" to do so in the coming months.

But on one occasion, Duterte said it is up to voters to choose which Ilocano would lead the country after his term ends in a few months.

After this remark, Duterte, in another interview, said the next Philippine president should be compassionate and preferably a lawyer.

The PDP-Laban has no candidates for president and vice president in the 2022 elections.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, President Duterte's longtime aide, initially filed his candidacy for vice president under PDP-Laban, while Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, a staunch Duterte ally, originally filed his candidacy for president under the ruling party.

Go, however, withdrew his bid after Sara filed her candidacy for vice president. Dela Rosa, meanwhile, withdrew his candidacy.

Go filed a COC for president as a substitute under Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), a party allied with the PDP-Laban. He also withdrew his presidential bid later on.

Two factions of the PDP-Laban are vying for recognition before the Commission on Elections — that of Cusi and Duterte, and the other of Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao.

In a Viber message to reporters, Pimentel slammed the latest move by the Cusi faction, saying this proves that they are “total strangers” to the party.

Pimentel, whose father, the late Senate President Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., is among PDP-Laban's founders, said the party was established to fight the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr., Bongbong Marcos' late father.

“With this latest action from Sec. Cusi and his cohorts, they have manifested that they are total strangers to PDP LABAN. They don’t even acknowledge that PDP LABAN was established to oppose the Marcos dictatorship,” Pimentel said in a statement Tuesday in reaction to the Cusi-led faction's endorsement of the younger Marcos' presidential bid.

“In Germany for example, a political party formed to oppose Adolf Hitler will definitely not support an Adolf Hitler Jr. Logic lang yan. Consistent with the PDP LABAN history and party constitution!” he added. 

Pimentel urged the Comelec to dismiss the petition earlier filed by their rival faction, whom he tagged as “usurpers.”

In September 2021, the Cusi-led wing asked the poll body to declare Pimentel and Pacquiao as illegal representatives of the party. —KBK, GMA News