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

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 7)— A faction in PDP-Laban led by its president, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, is urging the Commission on Elections to declare Senator Manny Pacquiao and his allies as “illegitimate officers” of the ruling party.

PDP-Laban Secretary General Melvin Matibag confirmed the filing of the petition on Tuesday. He said it was also electronically submitted to the poll body on Monday.

In a document obtained by CNN Philippines, the faction, represented by Cusi and Matibag, asked Comelec to declare the other group as “illegitimate officers and/or unauthorized representatives” of PDP-Laban.

Among the respondents are Pacquiao, the other group’s party president, and Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, its newly elected chairman, as well as unnamed allies.

The Pacquiao camp recently elected Pimentel as party chairman, but the Cusi wing does not recognize the process.

The Cusi group is now asking Comelec to “nullify all usurpations and/or such other purported assumptions of official party positions by the respondents.”

They said only those elected at the July 17 national assembly presided over by Duterte should be considered national officers of PDP-Laban. In this event, Cusi was elected party president, ousting Pacquiao.

The Cusi group also wants the Sworn Information Update Statement or list of officers filed by the Pacquiao camp in July to be expunged from Comelec’s records.

Pending the resolution of their petition, the Cusi wing also asked Comelec for a temporary restraining order to stop the Pacquiao camp from committing actions that would violate the party constitution. These include usurping the powers of duly elected officers, illegally passing resolutions and removing party officials, and making statements “amounting to prevarication on, misrepresentation of, and/or causing damage” to the petitioners.

Pimentel said he and Pacquiao will respond to the petition. He reiterated that there is only one PDP-Laban – the party he currently leads which was co-founded by his father, the late Senate President Nene Pimentel.

“We need to go over the Petition because I have been with the PDP-Laban since the 1980s and I only know of ONE PDP-LABAN which my father founded and which I never left together with thousands of party diehards at the grassroots level,” Pimentel said in a text message.

The warring factions are set to hold separate conventions this month to select and nominate their candidates for the May 2022 elections.