PDP-Laban official defies Pacquiao, says May 31 meeting to proceed

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2021 07:50 PM

MANILA — The PDP-Laban executive council’s meeting scheduled on May 31 will push through despite the opposition of the party's acting president Sen. Manny Pacquiao, according to party secretary-general Melvin Matibag.

"We’ll follow the agenda. The agenda was already distributed. It is a blended meeting because of the pandemic, it will proceed, so I encourage all the members, if you want to post your concern, air your concern, pag-usapan lahat ng concern ng party, and we should attend," Matibag told ABS-CBN News Friday.

Matibag, who is also TRANSCO’s president and CEO, expressed surprise over Pacquiao’s memorandum discouraging their members from attending the meeting.

"We sent the notices already to the members of the national council. I was surprised why Senator Pacquiao is asking the leaders not to attend that national council meeting. I don’t know what’s in this meeting, for the leaders not to attend," he said.

Matibag believes the meeting has been cleared with President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of PDP-Laban.

"They (Pacquiao camp) cited a provision that says that only the chairman can call for a meeting. But [Energy] Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi is the vice chairman. He as well is a member of the cabinet of the President. And the President is the chairman. I’m pretty much sure that there is an official communication from the chairman," Matibag argued.

"I’m sure Secretary Cusi is acting under the behest of the chairman, it’s deemed to assume that it is cleared (by the President)," he added.

Matibag also said Monday's gathering is not a "national assembly" but a "national council" meeting requested by their members.

The council is composed of around 170 PDP-Laban members currently serving as senators, congressmen, governors, and cabinet members.

Cusi has informed the concerned officers about this called meeting, Matibag said.

Matibag said the council needs to meet so they can decide who will really sit as the party president through an election. Pacquiao, he claimed, only became "acting president" through an "appointment" without any party consultation.

"Kasi yung pagpasa ni Sen. Koko Pimentel kay Pacquiao ay hindi maliwanag sa leadership eh, sa mga members kung paano naging acting president si Senator Pacquiao," Matibag said.

Matibag said part of the meeting's agenda is the preparation for the 2022 elections, specifically the issue of choosing their standard bearer.

Matibag likewise denied that Cusi has been going around the country to ask their members to support a Duterte vice presidential bid.

As of this writing, "more than 10" resolutions have been adopted by LGUs asking Duterte to run for vice president, Matibag said.

Meanwhile, Pacquio's spokesman Ron Munsayac said the senator would not be attending Monday's meeting but would instead call for a meeting in September.