The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has recognized the PDP-Laban faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as the legitimate wing of the party.
In a resolution, the Comelec Special Second Division said that “Chairman (President Rodrigo) Duterte’s chairmanship is an undisputed and well-settled fact in the aforementioned dates.”
“The fact that he presided over the election of the new sets of party officers and committee chairpersons validates the entire process, making the above-enumerated officers as the duly elected officers of PDP-Laban,” it said.
The Comelec’s special second division voted 2-1, with Commissioner Marlon Casquejo as the lone dissenter.
Commissioners Socorro Inting and Rey Bulay comprised the majority votes.
The 11-page ruling recognized the validity of PDP-Laban’s national assembly held on July 17, 2021, which unseated Senator Manny Pacquiao and named Cusi as the new party president, along with the appointment of new officers.
The Cusi faction previously filed a petition before the Comelec declaring Pacquiao and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III as “illegal representatives of the ruling party.”
Pimentel, in response, called on the poll body to dismiss the petition, calling the other faction “usurpers.”
Pimentel said they will file a motion for reconsideration, noting that the decision is “not immediately executory.”
Pimentel’s father, the late Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel II, was one of the founders of PDP-Laban. Pimentel III is the national chairman of the Pacquiao faction.
The Cusi wing is led by Cusi and President Rodrigo Duterte as president and national chairman, respectively.
Pimentel said the Cusi petition was “fatally defective,” without any board resolution authorizing its filing.
He said the Comelec was “very lax” in dealing with the Cusi faction, entertaining its petition even though they had no authority to file it.
“What happened to all the requirements other petitioners before the Comelec are required to comply with?” asked Pimentel.
Pimentel said they will also press the Comelec to explain why they referred the defective petition to a division without even informing them, “as we are a party to the case.
“Why the secrecy?” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said party members who have known only one party, the PDP-Laban for the last 40 years will now be separated from their party because of Cusi, who joined the party five years ago.
“We did not like to be turncoats, so we have been with PDP-Laban for 40 years. We didn’t like moving from one party to another party and it is the Comelec which will force us to transfer to another party against our will and against our party rules?”
“Imagine this: there is a printer which printed more peso bills than the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. Will we now recognize that fake money
printer as the new Central Bank just because it printed more paper bills than the BSP? Even though the new paper bills are fake? “
He insisted this issue should not be a case of numbers and decried the participation of “fake members.”
Cusi said he expects a strong finish for the party’s candidates—even if it does not have a presidential and vice presidential bet from the party. Instead, it has endorsed former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for president and vice president,
Cusi welcomed the Comelec’s decision, which affirms the ruling party’s dominance over other political parties.
Under the Comelec resolution issued Wednesday, PDP-Laban was named the dominant majority for getting the highest weighted average points of 55.74.
The ruling party’s score was based on the computation using six-point criteria, including the established record of the parties; the number of incumbent officials belonging to the party; the established chapters nationwide; the ability to field a slate of candidates
nationwide; the number of women candidates; and the relative organization and strength.
There are currently 5,384 incumbent officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte, who are members of the PDP-Laban.
As the dominant majority party, the PDP-Laban is entitled to get the fifth copy of the election returns and the seventh copy of the certificates of canvass.
The party will also receive electronically-transmitted precinct results and be allowed to assign official watchers in every polling place and canvassing center.