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Cusi KOs Pacquiao

Ousts boxing icon as PDP-Laban president

Months of infighting in the ruling party PDP-Laban culminated in the ouster of Senator Manny Pacquiao as party president and the election of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as his replacement.

Cusi KOs Pacquiao

President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of PDP-Laban, led the national assembly in Pampanga that was not snubbed by Pacquiao, who is in the US to prepare for an upcoming fight with Errol Spence Jr. in August, and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, son of the party’s founder the late Sen. Aquino Pimentel Jr.

PDP-Laban secretary-general Melvin Matibag said about 250 voting delegates attended the assembly, including 82 who joined virtually.

“I will live by the oath I took,” said Cusi after he was sworn in by Duterte yesterday.

“I will gear our party in support of our chairman and President in the upcoming elections, especially now that mudslinging and denigration are most prevalent,” Cusi added.

Cusi, Matibag, and Astravael Naik were earlier “expelled” through a resolution by the Pacquiao wing for pushing for the presidential bid of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is not a member of the PDP-Laban.

The resolution, however, was declared void by the Cusi-led national assembly, which then declared all national posts vacant.

Other newly-elected party leaders were Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles as executive vice president, Parañaque City Mayor Edwin Olivarez as vice president for NCR, CEZA head Raul Lambino as vice president for Luzon, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone as vice president for Visayas, PEZA director-general Charito Plaza as vice president for Mindanao, Palayan City Mayor Rianne Cuevas as national treasurer, and Sen. Christopher Go as auditor-general.

Pacquiao, in a statement released to the media, criticized the assembly, which his supporters described as a “farce” and “illegal.”

“If the likes of Cusi and the others think that politics is more important now, that is up to them. In the end, only one question remains: Who will have the support of the people?” he said.

“The Delta variant is now here in the country, and this should be the priority of our government,” he added.

Pimentel, for his part, said PDP-Laban is now facing a litmus test. “It is important for us to remain strong and to trust the party leadership under Sen. Pacquiao.”

President Duterte, however, pulled no punches in criticizing both Pimentel and Pacquiao.

“The one who made a mistake is Koko (Pimentel III), not Pacquiao. Pacquiao does not know anything. He does not even read. Pacquiao just follows whatever he is told to do,” the president said.

“[Pimentel] did not have a good tactic. I don’t know what pushed him to place Pacquiao as acting President. You have to elect [the party president]. That caused the split,” Duterte added.

Duterte also belittled the role of the Pimentels as founders of the PDP-Laban.

“[PDP-Laban] was sleeping until I ran for president [under the party.] It was a father-and-son party. They are not even well known in Cagayan de Oro where they are from. This is not an insult. It is the truth. They cannot win there, even just for a barangay captain race,” he added.

In a separate event at the Clark International Airport also in Pampanga, Duterte introduced Senate President Vicente Sotto III as vice president, a position that the lawmaker is reportedly eyeing in tandem with Sen. Panfilo Lacson.

Cusi KOs Pacquiao

Sotto is the chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which has opened its doors to Pacquiao should he gun for the presidency without the PDP-Laban to back him up.

Sotto and Lacson have started their “Tour of Luzon” —a series of consultations with local government officials to seek suggestions for a post-pandemic recovery plan.

Topics: PDP-Laban , Manny Pacquiao , Alfonso Cusi , Errol Spence Jr.
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