Comelec: No need yet to intervene in PDP-Laban rift

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 11) — The Commission on Elections sees no need yet to step in to resolve the dispute among officials of the ruling PDP-Laban party, according to a poll official.

"The first thing really is to declare that there is an inter-party dispute. Right now we are not quite at that point yet," Comelec director James Jimenez said during an online briefing with CNN Philippines on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi confirmed it has filed a petition urging Comelec to declare Senator Manny Pacquiao and his allies, including Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, as "illegitimate officers and/or unauthorized representatives" of the party.

The petition demanded that only those elected during the July 17 national assembly presided over by President Rodrigo Duterte should be considered national officers of PDP-Laban. In the event, Pacquiao was ousted as party president, with Cusi replacing him.

READ: Cusi-led PDP-Laban urges Comelec to declare Pacquiao group 'illegitimate'

RELATED: Pacquiao-led PDP Laban group ousts Duterte as party chairman

The petition — which will be tackled by the Comelec en banc — came after the faction led by Pacquiao named Pimentel as party chairman, replacing Duterte.

In July, Pacquiao's group submitted its own Sworn Information Update Statement, containing the list of party officers — which the Cusi group wanted expunged from Comelec records.

Last August 4, the Cusi-led faction submitted its own version of PDP-Laban officers.

"Pag yan palang ang nangyayari, may kanya kanyang set sila ng officers hindi pa tayo makakaintervene diyan because as far as the Comelec is concerned, this has no impact on who we will deal with as a representative of that party," Jimenez said.

[Translation: If that's the situation, they have a set of officers, we cannot yet intervene there because as far as the Comelec is concerned, this has no impact on who we will deal with as a representative of that party.]

"The conflict comes to a head when these two different slates of officers submit two different signatories," he added.

Sept. 30 is the deadline for the submission of authorized signatories.

"It is still conceivable that on the 29th that these two competing slates would merge again — everything's fine," Jimenez said.

Former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal earlier urged the poll body to sort our the issue within the PDP-Laban before Oct. 8, the last day for the filing of candidacies for next year's elections.

"More than resolving other matters, this is important because you are talking about a political party of the administration, and you assume there will be thousands of candidates who will be filing under PDP-Laban and you have to know who is authorized to sign the CONA (certificate of nomination and acceptance) for the political party," Larrazabal said.

READ: Comelec urged to resolve PDP-Laban factions prior to filing of candidacies