MANILA, Philippines - Sen. Koko Pimentel believes a plot to remove him as president of PDP-Laban was stopped by no less than the party chairman, Vice-President Jejomar Binay.
Speaking to ANC, Pimentel denied that he has become a "lame duck" president of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan PDP-Laban after he joined the senatorial ticket of the ruling Liberal Party.
"A nominal president means someone who is president in name only, parang lame duck or someone who cannot perform the duties and functions of his position. But that is not true. I will not be nominal president, nor will I allow my name to be used. I am still president of PDP-Laban," he told Headstart host Karen Davila.
"Maybe there was an attempt to make me nominal, but that attempt did not succeed."
Pimentel said he sees the logic in Binay's pronouncement that he will assume the functions of both president and chairman of the PDP-Laban.
The lawmaker said he had already thought of delegating some of his functions to PDP-Laban executive vice-president Joey de Venecia since he will be concentrating on his re-election bid.
He said Binay solved the problem by saying that he will take over the duties of party president.
Pimentel said the failure of the ouster plot only shows that he has the critical support of his party mates in PDP-Laban. He also gave credit to Binay for quelling talk of his ouster from the party.
"I think even the vice-president, he was the one who quelled this talk about ousting me. I give that credit to the vice-president, our party chairman," he said.
The senator said he convinced his party-mates to respect the United Nationalist Alliance coalition between PDP-Laban and the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP). He said a lot of PDP-Laban members wanted to follow him after he said he would be joining the administration ticket.
"A lot of them want to follow me, to go with me but what will happen to the party? The party will be divided...I have support from the party. We are trying to minimize the friction, the division and of course the commitment of the party must be honored."
Pimentel said he was only invited by the President to the LP senatorial slate in his individual capacity. He said he is not being nominated by the LP, but by his own party.
"I am very comfortable with 'tuwid na daan.' We sealed the deal by shaking hands. My interpretation is - I am already part of the [administration] ticket. There was no formal anything. I just said. 'Thank you, Mr. President, for inviting me and I accept.' It's a matter of trust," he said.