MANILA - The faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi in PDP-Laban has another accusation against Sen. Manny Pacquiao — this time involving the boxer-senator's eldest son.
According to Melvin Matibag, secretary-general of the Cusi wing in PDP-Laban, Jimuel Pacquiao is one of the officials of the Labor Party of the Philippines (LPP).
Matibag claimed that LPP is one of the three political parties formed by Pacquiao, which will serve as his standby political alliances if the senator is not chosen as the standard-bearer by the administration camp in the 2022 elections.
“We also got hold of a document, learning that the son of Senator Manny Pacquiao is also very active in one of the national political parties. Meron tayong nakikita tayo rito na under current,” Matibag said.
He admitted there is no violation in it, but he claimed that Pacquiao is putting up other national political parties in relation to the senator's alleged plan to run for president.
Matibag named a certain "Atty. Villegas” as the president of LPP, where Jimuel supposedly serves as the youth affairs committee chairman.
He added that Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, an official and member of PDP-Laban since the latter's father, the late Senate President Nene Pimentel, founded it, is aware of Pacquiao's actions.
Pimentel, in a statement, stressed Jimuel, 20, is of legal age and can decide what he wants to do, including what political party he wants to join.
He criticized Matibag's string of attacks against Pacquiao, saying these are meant to distract the senator from his upcoming fight in the US this weekend.
"How unpatriotic of this group of trapos,” Pimentel said.
CUSI WING QUESTIONS PACQUIAO CAMP'S SIUS
The battle for control of ruling party PDP-Laban has reached the Commission on Elections (Comelec) after the Cusi and Pacquiao factions confirmed that they each filed documents required from political parties in the upcoming 2022 national elections.
The SIUS— a document stating the party's office details, list of officers, list of elected members, and other information— is meant "to ensure that those in the registry are still in existence and continue to comply with the requirements of the Constitution," the Comelec said in an earlier circular.
The SIUS deemed legitimate by the Comelec will be used as the basis on which party officials would sign the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA), a requirement for candidates who wish to run under a political party.
Candidates who fail to submit a CONA will be deemed as independent bets.
Matibag said they have sent a letter to the Comelec questioning the validity of the Pacquiao wing’s SIUS, and they will formalize this by filing of a petition in the coming days.
Their group’s legal team is taking charge of the matter, Matibag said, adding the Comelec supposedly recognizes the most recent SIUS submitted to it.
This was contradicted by Pimentel, who wrote the PDP-Laban's constitution and bylaws.
“Hindi naman y'an contest kung sino ang 'huli nag-file'. Ang importante ay sino ba ang meron competence and authority to file a SIUS for a political party. Alangan naman the Comelec will accept any filing from just anybody,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel is backing Pacquiao, who is rumored to be running for president next year.
Matibag, on the other hand, is allied with Cusi and President Rodrigo Duterte, chair of PDP-Laban. Their faction had formally asked Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 elections.
Both Pacquiao and Cusi's camps have been claiming control over the party since March 2021.
The rift within the PDP-Laban began started when Cusi's group began collecting signatures from party members to urge Duterte to seek the country's second highest position after stepping down from the presidency next year.
Pacquiao, the party's acting president, said the document was not authorized by other PDP-Laban officials.
Cusi's group then held assemblies in Cebu and in Clark, which Pacquiao and Pimentel labeled as "illegal."
The turn of events resulted in the supposed expulsion of Cusi and Matibag from the party, and the supposed ousting of Pacquiao and Pimentel from their posts in PDP-Laban.