"This will define the political landscape leading to the people’s choice of the next leader."
Today, a “rump” PDP-Laban national assembly will be held in Cebu, the home province of Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte whose spirit is always re-invigorated whenever he goes to his father’s home province, as he would always claim during the campaign.
It is “rump” in the eyes of PDP-Laban’s acting president, Emmanuel Pacquiao, the boxing legend turned congressman then senator, and now, positioning himself as the next president of the country. “Rump,” according to his executive director, still the chief aide of Sen. Koko Pimentel, Ronwald Munsayac, who claims that under party rules, a national assembly can be called only by “both” the president and the chairman. Which means Pacquiao and Duterte must jointly call for the national assembly to convene.
But there are prejudicial questions which the Pacman and his ideologue Munsayac need to respond to, as they challenge the validity of the national assembly their vice-chairman, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, called.
The first is how the Pacman was “selected” as president of the party. He was elected executive vice-president, the president being Sen. Pimentel. Sen. Pimentel resigned his post, and thus the Pacman was elevated to the presidency. As, mind you, “acting” president, because no election by the national assembly of the PDP validated his succession.
The second crucial issue is whether the top honchos of the party were informed beforehand, “pasintabi man lamang” as Tagalogs would say, about the transfer of power between elected and his successor.
Sen. Bong Go claims he was not informed beforehand; neither Sen. Bato, neither Sen. Tol. There are only five members of the PDP in the Senate, namely, Koko, BG, Bato, Tol and the Pacman. As pundits would say, “nabasa na lang nung tatlo sa dyaryo.”
Did they also make “pasintabi” with the party chairman, the president of the Republic no less? President Duterte says he was not informed of the decision of Koko to resign in favor of the Pacman.
Munsayac might claim that Duterte was not an original member of the party. True, the then-mayor of Davao City was merely adopted by their party as candidate for president after that legal subterfuge where a certain Martin Diño stood as “acting” candidate until substituted by Duterte in late November, more than a month after the lapse of the Comelec deadline for filing certificates of candidacy.
But then, the substitute candidate won, populated the party from pedicab-size to a long and winding train, and was overwhelmingly elected President of the Republic.
Without the “pasintabi,” Sen. Koko and his executive director Munsayac were running the party all by themselves, maybe because Duterte was just an “adopted” party candidate, and never really showed much personal interest in the affairs of the PDP.
And the “pambansang kamao” thought that everything was hunky-dory, because he was dealing with the president of PDP, not a newbie like himself and Pres. Duterte, nor his fellow PDP newbies, senators BG, Bato and Francis.
So now, as elections draw near, less than a year away as they convene, the unravelling of the Pimentel-Pacman political gambit begins.
Remember that if Duterte was not a true-blue PDP until the time he substituted for Diño, neither was the Pacman, until he got elected as senator and had to be a political ally of the newly-elected President Duterte. The Pacman ran under the wings of then UNA candidate Jejomar Binay, vice-president of the Philippines, also once the president of the PDP which went into an alliance with Joseph Estrada when they ran for the top posts in 2010, with Binay winning, and Erap losing to Noynoy Aquino of the Liberal Party.
After Binay won as vice-president, and until the trio of Senators Alan Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes and Koko Pimentel torpedoed his certain ascent to the presidency, he formed the United Nationalist Alliance or UNA as vehicle for 2016. By a twist of fate, the reluctant Duterte candidate found himself carrying the standard of the PDP, and won.
Today, the national assembly of the PDP convenes in Cebu, called by its vice-chairman, and unless he changes his mind, the Chairman, the President of the Republic no less, will attend.
What that national assembly does or does not do to the boxing legend with eyes on the presidency, Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, will in great measure define the political landscape leading to the people’s choice of the next leader after June 30, 2022.
Will that assembly pull the party rug from under the feet of the pambansang kamao, and if so, what will he do? Put up another party, or join one of the flags of convenience that are always for sale or for rent each time we have elections in this benighted land?
Surely, he will feel that this is no way to treat the sporting world’s pride of the Filipino nation. How he reacts, and what he does thereafter, bears watching.