PDP-Laban leadership says Quezon City Circle event 'unsanctioned'

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2018 11:48 PM

A Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) official said an event held at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Wednesday supposedly under the auspices of the ruling party was not sanctioned by its leadership.

"We will refer this matter to our discipline committee led by Vice Chairman Secretary Al Cusi," said Ron Munsayac, chairman of the PDP Public Information and Communications Committee.

Munsayac said one of the organizers of the event, Cesar Cuntapay, was already expelled from the party.

"They are our partymates based in Mindanao but si Mr. Cuntapay has already been expelled from the party. Si Mr. (Rogelio) Garcia may ongoing process," he said.

On Wednesday afternoon, some members of the party led by Garcia, the national council chairman, gathered at the Quezon Memorial Circle to air their grievances.

Among the issues raised during the gathering was the mass oath-taking into the party being conducted by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The group said the new members of the party did not receive the mandatory basic seminar.

Garcia also lamented that old members of PDP-Laban were not invited at the party's 36th anniversary celebration.

Cuntapay, one of the founding members of the party, supported Garcia, saying they will not allow Alvarez to do what he wants. 

Alvarez said he has has referred the matter to Senate President Koko Pimentel.

In a phone interview, Melvin Matibag, deputy secretary general of PDP, said the party leadership was not informed about the said event beforehand.

"No, it is not sanctioned by the party. We were surprised that there's a group of people who claims to be PDP having this event in Quezon City. To be honest its been happening in many places not only in Quezon City. A lot of people are posturing to be PDP but they are not really sanctioned by the party," he said.

"The problem lies with them using the party as a vehicle although they are not sanctioned. The event that was really PDP was the event last night the celebration of the 36th anniversary of the PDP and at the same time the one year anniversary of the memorandum of understanding between the CPC (Communist Party of China) of the PROC (People's Republic of China) and China but we were informed of the event in Quezon City that is not sanctioned by the party," he added.

Matibag echoed Munsayac's statement on Garcia and Cuntapay's status in the party.

"They used to be party member. But right now alam naman natin the PDP leadership is composed of the president who is the chairman, the president of the party is the Senate president. This is Senator (Koko) Pimentel, the secretary-general is the Speaker of the House, Speaker Bebot Alvarez. The vice chairman is Secretary Alfonso Cusi. Ito yung record talaga even if you check in Comelec," he said.

Matibag said the head of the party discipline, Cusi, is looking into the issue.

Garcia is also not considered a party member now. 

"Right now he is not considered a party member because our discipline procedure right now is different. We will remove those who are violating what is being sanctioned by the party and they will be given to explain if they want to be reconsidered as a member," Matibag said.

About Cuntapay, Matibag said: "Yan medyo mas clear 'yan kasi there is actually an expulsion notice to Mr. Cuntapay."

A group led by Garcia and Cuntapay earlier claimed to have a issued a resolution declaring Alvarez as persona non grata from the party.

"That group does not represent the party. Whatever their complaints, someone who has expanded the base of PDP Laban in the House of Representatives from 3 to 123, cannot be said to have done or be doing acts inimical to the party. Speaker Alvarez has in fact strengthened the party with quality members and was crucial in the passage of laws that forward the change we in the party advocate," Pimentel said. 

Pimentel advised Cuntapay to respect the party's processes and submit his complaint to PDP Laban's arbitration procedure.

He also issued an order to Cuntapay: "You are to immediately cease from these actions inimical to the party's image and morale, or be subject to party discipline." - with reports from April Rafales, ABS-CBN News