Pimentel group prevails in PDP Laban row

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Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III tells Senate employees about the majority public approval and trust ratings of the Senate in a recent Ulat ng Bayan Pulse Asia survey, during the morning flag rites on Monday, November 7, 2016.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 30) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has ruled that the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) under the leadership of Senator Koko Pimentel is the legitimate wing of the ruling party, settling a bitter months-long row with a splinter group that even President Rodrigo Duterte could not fix.

In a resolution tweeted by PDP Laban Public Information Committee chair Ron Munsayac, the Comelec affirmed the legitimacy of the sworn information update statement (SIUS) and the list of authorized signatures submitted by PDP-Laban under Pimentel instead of those submitted by lawyer Rogelio Garcia, who heads a faction of the party.

"The Commission still maintains its recognition of the officers of Pimentel Group as PDP Laban's legitimate officers authorized to act for and in behalf of PDP Laban," the Comelec said.

The poll body said it has not ruled against the officers listed in the SIUS filed by the Pimentel group and that it took judicial notice of the fact that the senator was the one who was authorized to submit the list of authorized signatures for PDP Laban in the 2016 elections.

"I am happy that the true leadership of PDP LABAN has been recognized and preserved by the Comelec," Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the Comelec ruling would render candidates nominated by the Garcia group as "unauthorized and illegitimate" and cannot present themselves as PDP Laban bets.

Among the senatorial candidates nominated by the Garcia group is folk singer Freddie Aguilar, whose candidacy was deemed dubious by the Pimentel group. Despite this, President Rodrigo Duterte, who is also PDP-Laban chair, still endorsed Aguilar.