MANILA (UPDATE) — The Commission on Elections has recognized a PDP-Laban faction chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte over a wing led by Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, whose father founded the party.
In a decision released on Friday, a Comelec special division said the PDP-Laban national assembly that Duterte presided over on July 17, 2021 was binding to all party members as it complied with the requirements.
The assembly was called by the party's national council on May 31, it added.
"Considering that Chairman Duterte’s chairmanship is an undisputed and well-settled fact in the aforementioned dates, it is also undisputed that Chairman Duterte’s acts on even dates are valid and effective," said the division.
"The fact that he presided over the election of the new sets of party officers and committee chairpersons validates the entire process," it added.
The special division added that the Duterte-backed wing led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi were the "true and official members" of the party.
It also recognized Karlo Nograles as party executive vice president, Melvin Matibag as secretary general, and Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go as auditor general, among others.
The resolution voided the Pimentel wing’s resolutions and meetings.
WHAT WENT BEFORE
The body that settled the PDP-Laban dispute was created because of a tie in its original division, the Second Division, said its member, Commissioner George Erwin Garcia.
Garcia was legal counsel for the PDP-Laban before it split into 2 factions.
Commissioners Socorro Inting and Rey Bulay sided with the Cusi wing, while Commissioner Marlon Casquejo dissented. Casquejo is the chairman of the original Second division.
The Cusi wing was left without a standard bearer when Go quit the presidential race.
In March, it endorsed the presidential bid of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., despite the party's history of opposing his father and namesake, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
President Duterte, who earlier called Marcos Jr. a "weak leader", said this week he would have no presidential candidate, even "until December." The President's daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is running for vice president in tandem with Marcos.
Meanwhile, the Pimentel wing earlier endorsed the Malacañang bid of Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who had a public falling out with Duterte last year over his foreign policy and the alleged corruption in government. Pacquiao filed his candidacy under PROMDI.
PDP-LABAN, OTHER PARTIES, AND THE 2022 POLLS
The practical application of Comelec's resolution is that the Cusi wing will get the perks and privileges of being declared the dominant majority party—which includes access to copies of precinct-level election results and priority access for its precinct watchers.
Vice President Leni Robredo, though she is running for president as independent candidate, will get precinct-level election results as she chairs the Liberal Party, which was also given access to them.
Comelec Resolution 10787 names the PDP-Laban as the dominant majority party and the Nacionalista Party (NP) as the dominant minority party for the election.
The 10 major political parties include the Liberal Party, Aksyon Demokratiko, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Lakas-CMD, Partido Demokratikong Reporma (PDR), National Unity Party (NUP), Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, PFP, Akbayan and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
Sen. Cynthia Villar leads the NP, while Duterte-Carpio chairs Lakas-CMD. The NUP is also supportive of President Duterte, while the PFP is chaired by Marcos Jr.
The LP is the leading opposition party but it lost out the dominant minority party slot to the NP, which is supportive of the administration.
Robredo has the support of the PDR. Akbayan is an allied party of the LP. UNA’s candidate for senator, former vice president Jejomar Binay, enjoys Robredo’s support.
Aksyon Demokratiko’s candidate for president is Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso.
Aside from getting the first crack at the precinct-level election returns and the certificates of canvass at the municipal, city, provincial and national levels, the watchers of the dominant majority party and dominant minority party shall be given preference if the space in the canvassing/consolidation center is insufficient.
The Comelec’s rules do not consider the political divisions between administration and opposition as it established a point system for determining the dominant majority, dominant minority, 10 major national parties and 2 major local parties in connection with the May 9, 2022 national and local elections.
Division decisions may be reviewed by the Commission on Elections en banc.
FROM THE ARCHIVES