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Unification of PDP-Laban factions eyed


Cecille Suerte Felipe – The Philippine Star

December 27, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — While confirming efforts to reunify two factions of the once-ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) political party, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III said his “side of the party is wary and hesitant.”

The once dominant party was split into two factions before the 2022 elections, with one faction led by party chairman and then president Rodrigo Duterte and the other by party president and then senator Manny Paquiao.

Pimentel, son of party founder and namesake, sided with Pacquiao.

Sen. Robinhood Padilla recently disclosed a possible unification of the two factions, saying he is “courting” Pimentel to mend fences with officers and members of the faction led by Duterte.

“There have been efforts but my side of the party is wary and hesitant,” said Pimentel when asked by The STAR about reunification moves. He did not elaborate.

In preparation for the 2022 presidential elections, the Duterte-led faction ousted the younger Pimentel as the party’s executive chair, together with Pacquiao as the party’s titular head.

The PDP-Laban recognized Duterte as its guest candidate, as he had no national political party to carry him then as a presidential candidate in 2016.

Also in the Duterte faction sharing the leadership post was former Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi.

The infighting in the PDP-Laban was referred to the Commission on Elections, which later ruled in favor of the Duterte-Cusi faction.

The Comelec denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Pimentel and Pacquiao, saying it did not find any valid reason to change its decision.

Pimentel downplayed the Comelec ruling, however. “The certificate of finality issued by the Comelec regarding our dispute over the leadership of PDP-Laban is just a pro forma, automatic announcement based on its own practice or institutional habit,” he said.

“But the Comelec, by its own pronouncement, deprived the Supreme Court of jurisdiction to review its actions and decisions, especially when they are seen to be whimsical, capricious, arbitrary or issued with grave abuse of discretion, such as the decision in this case,” he added.

Pimentel’s father founded the PDP-Laban at the height of the struggle against the dictatorship in 1982.

Padilla resigned irrevocably as executive vice president of the PDP-Laban in May, so he could concentrate on fulfilling his duties as senator.

He, however, maintained that he intends to remain a member of the party and continue to participate actively in its advocacies.

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