PDP-Laban expels Cusi, 2 others; supports Pacquiao in ‘crackdown’ vs party charter violators

Maris Federez   •   July 9, 2021   •   1257

MANILA, Philippines — The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) has expelled party vice chairman and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, deputy secretary-general Melvin Matibag, and membership committee head Astra Naik.

In a statement, PDP-Laban said the officials were expelled from the party for violating its constitution by showing allegiance to a political party apart from them.

It added that three resolutions were issued in response to a manifesto signed by more than 10,000 grassroots members of the PDP Laban which condemned “this systematic and underhanded effort by some party newcomers and a handful of party officers to sabotage the present leadership, so they may advance a political movement that is against the best interest of our beloved party.”

The statement said the expulsion of Cusi, Matibag, and Naik was explained in Resolution No.6 issued by Party President Sen. Manny Pacquiao and the PDP Laban National Executive Committee (NEC).

The Resolution, dated June 12, 2021, formally removed Cusi, Matibag, and Naik from the party for violation of Article VII Section 6 of the Party Constitution which specifically prohibits members from maintaining any allegiance to another political party.

“Vice Chairman Cusi is already manipulating the party to support the Duterte-Duterte tandem which is a blatant admission of supporting Sara Duterte Carpio for President, who is not a member of the Party. He is guilty of having allegiance to a candidate and her political ideals and party,” the resolution stated.

PDP-Laban members “were likewise directed to cease and desist from following, supporting, or giving legitimacy to any directive, resolution, notices, communications, or actions of Vice-Chairman Alfonso Cusi, Ms. Astra Naik, and Atty. Melvin Matibag related to or derived and resulting from the aforementioned acts and the meeting held on May 31, 2021,” the resolution said.

Resolution No. 4 was also issued by the NEC authorizing Pacquiao to “direct, organize, create and appoint investigation committees from the National Committees” to deal with complaints and information regarding certain officers and members of the party who may have violated the Party Constitution or may have committed acts inimical to the Party by showing allegiance to another Party.

“There is a need for PDP-Laban to take appropriate actions by reason of the exigencies brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the unauthorized and illegal acts committed by some of its officers and members with the insidious purpose of illegally wresting control over the Party by violating the Party Constitution, violating the law, sowing confusion, fostering friction, creating a divide within the Party and showing allegiance to another party,” the resolution stated.

Resolution No. 5, on the other hand, was issued to declare the nullity of the March 31, 2021 meeting and the scheduled July 17, 2021 assembly of the PDP Laban National Council that was called upon by Cusi and Matibag, the statement said.

The resolution reiterated that Cusi does not have the power to call for a National Council meeting because Article XVII Section 1 of their Constitution provides “that only the President of the party is authorized to sign documents on behalf of the National Council and the Party.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary-General Melvin Matibag has also issued a statement on this recent development.

“I don’t wanna give credence to their actions. They don’t have any authority to discipline National Officers. It’s just a way for them to hype their status in the media. We will just see them in the National Council and National Assembly. These two are the highest governing bodies of the PDP Laban,” Matibag said.

“The committee of Senator Manny Pacquiao is irrelevant. July 17 National Assembly will be the day of their reckoning. We encourage them to challenge the actions of the National Assembly. Legally speaking, they don’t have any fighting chance,” he added. —/mbmf

Sara Duterte won’t seek national post in 2022 polls

Robie de Guzman   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Thursday said she will not run for a national position in the 2022 elections.

Duterte-Carpio issued the statement after her father, President Rodrigo Duterte, formally accepted his party’s nomination for vice president.

“Yes, I am not running for a national position as we both agreed only one of us will run for a national position in 2022,” Mayor Sara told reporters in a message.

PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi endorsed Duterte as the party’s vice president bet, and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as president.

Go, however, declined the nomination as PDP-Laban’s presidential candidate, stressing that he is not interested.

When asked if her father’s political plans would affect her own, the younger Duterte replied with: “It does not affect any of my plans but as we both agreed only one from the family will run for a national position.”

The presidential daughter also said that her regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), will not support the Go-Duterte tandem in next year’s polls. Sara’s party supported PDP-Laban candidates in the 2019 elections.

“No. I will not share my light this time,” she said.

Mayor Sara also reiterated that her relationship with her father remains the same.

“Our politics do not interfere with our familial relationship. Iba ang trabaho, iba ang pamilya. Walang personalan,” she said.

Mayor Sara is not a member of PDP-Laban or any national party, making her ineligible to become a substitute candidate to Go or her father. Under the law, substitutes must be a member of the same political party.

Sara Duterte-Carpio has consistently topped presidential election surveys.

Several political parties have also declared their support for the mayor should she decide to join the presidential race. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Pacquiao insists legitimacy of his PDP-Laban group after Cusi faction files petition

Robie de Guzman   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday maintained that they are the legitimate members and representatives of the ruling political party PDP-Laban.

Pacquiao issued the statement after the faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi filed a petition urging the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to declare them as illegitimate members of the PDP-Laban.

“Hihintayin natin ang desisyon ng COMELEC kasi naniniwala kami na kami ang legit PDP,” Pacquiao said in a virtual press conference he held after he ended his 10-day quarantine.

“Ang mahigit 100,000 members ng PDP naniniwala sa ’tin, nakasuporta at nandito lahat sa atin ang lahat ng database ng partido mula ng ito ay itinatag hanggang sa kasalukuyan,” he added.

Cusi’s wing on Tuesday filed a petition seeking to declare Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III as illegal representatives of the party.

In response to the petition, Pimentel maintained that there is only one PDP-Laban founded by his father, former Senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr., which he “never left together with thousands of party diehards at the grassroots level.”

Pimentel’s faction has been pushing for the possible presidential bid of Pacquiao while Cusi’s was endorsing the tandem of Senator Bong Go and President Rodrigo Duterte in the 2022 elections.

Cusi’s faction earlier held a convention where they formally nominated the Go-Duterte tandem.

Pacquiao, meanwhile said they will also have their own convention on Sept. 19 where they will elect new party officials and reveal their plans for the upcoming elections.

The two factions have been locked in an ongoing rift, with Pimentel’s group ousting Duterte as party chairman and Cusi from party leadership.

Cusi’s camp also removed Pimentel as the party’s executive vice chairman and Pacquiao as party president.

Go declines PDP-Laban nomination for 2022 presidency

Maris Federez   •   September 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher ‘Bong’ Go has declined his nomination as Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) bet for the presidency in the 2022 National Elections.

Go, who did not attend the convention, released a statement Wednesday afternoon, expressing his gratitude for being nominated along with the President. He, however, reiterated that he is not interested to run for president.

”Sa mga kasamahan ko sa PDP-Laban, muli, taus-puso akong nagpapasalamat sa inyo para sa inyong tiwala at suporta sa akin at kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte,” Go said.

“Subalit, inuulit ko, hindi po ako interesadong tumakbo sa pagka-Pangulo sa darating na halalan,” he added.

He stressed that he’d rather focus his attention on public service in his capacity as a member of the Upper Chamber and implored his party mates to respect his decision.

“I have already respectfully declined your endorsement through a letter I sent last week. I am hoping that the party will continue to respect my decision,” he stated.

Go, nevertheless, expressed his continued support to the party.

“Gayunpaman, asahan ninyo ang aking buong suporta sa ating partido. Kahit hindi ako tumakbong Pangulo, patuloy pa rin naman akong magmamalasakit at magseserbisyo sa sambayanang Pilipino upang malampasan ang krisis na ating hinaharap at maipagpatuloy ang mga magagandang nagawa ni Pangulong Duterte,” he said. —/mbmf

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