MANILA— President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban faction on Tuesday formally endorsed late dictator's son Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.'s presidential bid, even as the party was originally built to fight his father's dictatorship.
PDP-Laban used to be separate political parties when it was founded in 1982. PDP was formed by then Senator Aquilino "Nene" Pimente Jr. while LABAN is the political party organized by then Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr.
The political party is currently split into two factions: the one led by Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel and other led by Duterte ally, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Duterte only joined the party in 2016.
Cusi claimed the rift began in December 2020 when Pacquiao was "suddenly" elected as acting president in a Thanksgiving party organized by Pimentel, in which Duterte, the party chair, was not invited.
The battle for control in PDP reached the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in mid-August last year, with the factions informing the commission of their legitimacy as party members.
The sworn information updated statement (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.
Knowing whether the faction is legitimate is important because PDP is a ruling party, the chairman of which is the country's sitting President. Local and national candidates running under the party could be given a boost, and can be considered administration bets.
The Comelec has yet to resolve the case.
Here are the key moments of the PDP-Laban split, before ending up with one bloc endorsing Marcos, Jr.
- May 31, 2021 - PDP-Laban's executive council meeting was held in Cebu which Pacquiao skipped. The boxing champ reportedly sent a memorandum discouraging members from attending the meeting.
The gathering resulted in a call for Duterte to seek the vice presidency in next year's elections, and for him to choose his running mate.
- July 1, 2021 - Pacquiao tells Cusi to follow the party's by-laws and provisions or leave the party if he could not do so. He added he has the support of more than 10,000 party members following rumors he would be ousted from his post.
- July 3, 2021 - Matibag accuses Pacquiao of "burning bridges" in PDP-Laban.
On the same day, the senator alleged that more than P10 billion in pandemic aid was lost through the social amelioration program, just as he questioned the use of the Starpay app for the funds' release to beneficiaries. He also said the Department of Health had given expired medicine.
Pacquiao said he did not mean to offend the President after claiming that rampant corruption prevailed under his administration.
The DSWD and the DOH denied the allegations.
- July 9, 2021 - PDP-Laban expels Cusi (who was then PDP-Laban's vice chairman), Matibag (then deputy secretary general), and Astra Naik (then membership committee head) for supposedly violating several provisions in the party's constitution.
Matibag says Pacquiao's move was irrelevant and he would face his "reckoning" on a national assembly set for July 17 that year. Pacquiao's camp said the event was "unauthorized."
- July 12, 2021 - Malacañang says Duterte recognizes the leadership of Cusi in PDP-Laban despite his expulsion.
Then presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Duterte will attend the July 17 PDP-Laban National Assembly led by Cusi.
- July 17, 2021 - PDP-Laban split becomes final as Cusi gets elected as their party faction's president, just as they also stripped Pacquiao and Pimentel of leadership.
Duterte, the party's chairman, was present during the assembly in Clark, Pampanga and led the oath-taking of new officers.
Pimentel, a long-time member of the party, said the PDP-Laban leadership at the time did not recognize the national assembly.
- August 17, 2021 - The factions each filed separate documents required for political parties in the upcoming 2022 national elections.
This includes the SIUS, a document stating the party's office details, list of officers, list of elected members, and other information.
According to an earlier Comelec circular, the SIUS is meant "to ensure that those in the registry are still in existence and continue to comply with the requirements of the Constitution."
- August 24, 2021 Duterte accepts PDP-Laban's nomination for him to run as vice president in the May 2022 elections. The Chief Executive said he was just responding to the clamor of the people.
- August 25, 2021 - Davao City Sara Duterte-Carpio said she does not want to be involved in the PDP-Laban politics, after they gave her the option to run as president with Go as running-mate or endorse Duterte's tandem with the senator.
This came after Duterte said he would make way for his daughter's presidency.
She said this "was not a pleasant event."
- August 29, 2021 - Pimentel gets elected as the new PDP-Laban chair in their faction. Cusi called his election as chairman a "comedy".
- September 8, 2021 - PDP-Laban Cusi faction nominates Go as their standard-bearer, with Duterte as his running-mate. Go, a former aide of Duterte, declined the nomination.
- September 19, 2021 - Pimentel said the "real" PDP-Laban would fight back against what they described as hijackers.
Pimentel slammed members of the other faction claiming to be the legitimate PDP-Laban, saying these people have been jumping from one party to another whenever it is convenient for them.
- September 22, 2021 - The Comelec directed Pacquiao's PDP wing to answer the rival faction's accusation that they were "illegitimate."
The Cusi wing petition had asked Comelec to declare Pacquiao's group as "illegitimate officers and/or unauthorized representatives" of the PDP-Laban.
- September 23, 2021 - Duterte formally accepts his faction's nomination for him as vice-presidential bet.
Duterte signed a certificate of nomination and acceptance (CONA), which carried the PDP-Laban letterhead and logo and indicated the date of Sep. 17, 2021. Go at the time has yet to accept the nomination to be the party's standard-bearer.
On the same day the faction allied with Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) amid its row with Pacquiao's wing.
PDDS, formed in 2018, was helmed by former Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Greco Belgica.
- October 1, 2021 - Pacquiao files his COC as president under Cebu-based PROMDI party amid the problem with PDP.
"Dahil may problema ang partidong PDP napagkasunduan namin na PROMDI ang gagamitin namin," said Pacquiao.
The senator said he would run for vice president after Duterte withdrew his acceptance of the PDP-Laban nomination for the same post. This was not made public until Go's filing.
- October 3, 2021 - PDP-Laban Cusi wing announced that Pacquiao was "automatically dismissed" in the party for running as president in another party.
Matibag cited Section 6, Article VII of the PDP Laban Constitution which, according to him, states that a member's filing of COC under another political party is a ground for automatic expulsion.
- October 8, 2021 PDP-Laban Cusi wing fielded Sen. Bato Dela Rosa as president.
- October 21, 2021 - The Senate Finance Subcommittee kicked out Matibag from a budget hearing after a heated exchange with Pacquiao.
The panel questioned Matibag, head of the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), for his alleged connections with the Independent Electricity Market Operator of the Philippines (EIMOP).
Matibag, who attended virtually, asked permission to explain his side and accused Pacquiao of politicizing the proceedings.
"Alam niyo let's call a spade a spade dito sa hearing na ito... This is all political Sen. Pacquiao, alam naman natin ito. Ito 'yung pinapasabi mo noong bago ka umalis eh. Noong umalis ka na sinasabi mo meron kang pasabog… 'wag tayong magmalinis dito," he explained.
- November 13, 2021 - Go filed his COC for president under PDDS, just as Dela Rosa announced withdrawing from Halalan 2022, as the deadline for substitution neared.
- November 16, 2021 - Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte-Carpio confirmed they will work as a tandem in the lead-up to the 2022 elections.
Duterte-Carpio added that the ruling party PDP-Laban rejected her request to back her partnership with Marcos.
Go said he and the President would a support candidates who can continue the current administration's infrastructure drive and COVID-19 response, among others.
- December 2, 2021 Matibag said emissaries of certain presidential aspirants already initiated talks with the PDP-Laban Cusi Wing to forge a possible alliance and bag President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement.
- December 8, 2021 - Pacquiao said Cusi was the reason behind the rift in PDP-Laban.
- January 21, 2022 Cusi's PDP faction adopted Duterte-Carpio as their vice presidential bet.
- March 5, 2022 The Cusi wing formally endorsed Duterte-Carpio as their vice-presidential candidate. The faction also bared their senatorial slate, which included actor Robin Padilla, Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, Belgica, and ex-chief presidential legal counsel Salvador “Sal” Panelo.
- March 9, 2022 Duterte picked Matibag as his acting Cabinet Secretary.
- March 22, 2022 - The Duterte wing endorsed Marcos Jr. for the presidency, amid objections from the rival faction led by Pimentel and Pacqiuao.
— with reports from Jamaine Punzalan, Katrina Domingo, Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, and Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News