Pacquiao Faction Ousts Duterte as PDP-Laban Chairman

Sen. Koko Pimentel elected to replace Duterte.
Photo/s: Karl Alonzo, Presidential Photo

(UPDATE) The PDP-Laban faction led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Sunday ousted President Rodrigo Duterte as party chairman of the party as ratcheting up the their rivalry. 

Ronwald Munsayac, the recognized national executive director of the Pacquiao faction, said they held a national council meeting earlier in the day, during which Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III was elected chairman of the party.

Pacquiao remains as president, while former Eastern Samar Gov. Lutgardo Barbo was named vice chairman, he added.

The meeting took place as Pacquiao was on his flight back to the Philippines after his fight with Cuba's Yordenis Ugas in the U.S.

Both Pacquiao and another wing led by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi have been claiming authority over PDP-Laban, which grew in membership when Duterte won the presidency in the 2016 elections.

Pacquiao, who is reported to be vying for the presidency in the 2022 polls, was earlier removed as acting president of PDP-Laban by the Cusi wing during their national assembly last July.

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Cusi was elected president of the party, with Duterte as chairman. Last week, Duterte said he was running for vice president. 

Pimentel, who is an ally of Pacquiao, maintained that their camp was the natural continuation of PDP-Laban. His father, former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., was the founder of the party.

"We will continue to act and decide and move because we believe we are the real PDP-Laban," he earlier said.

The Cusi camp, however, dismissed the move of the other camp as mere "comedy."

"Sen. Koko Pimentel has no position in the PDP Laban. He is irrelevant and he does not represent the party. His group are pretenders and are attention seekers," said the camp's secretary general Melvin Matibag.

"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is the PDP Laban party Chairman. He remains to be so and will continue to be so," he added.

The Commission on Elections is expected to take up the leadership issue in PDP-Laban ahead of the 2022 polls.

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