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Pacquiao Foe in PDP Laban Denies Plotting to Grab Power

Ahead of party elections on July 17.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: Courtesy of Alfonso Cusi Facebook Page

An opponent of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in the PDP-Laban Party that he leads with President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday denied a lawmaker's claim of a power grab.

Alfonso Cusi, the party vice chairman who is pushing for Duterte's vice presidential candidacy, issued the statement ahead of a July 17 national assembly which Pacquiao refuses to recognize, and during which elections for new party officials will be held.

"We are not grabbing power, there's nothing to grab," said Cusi, who is also Duterte's energy secretary.

Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel, a Pacquiao ally, earlier said his camp was the natural continuation of PDP-Laban. His father, former Sen. Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr., was the founder of the party.

Pimentel said his group would not let members who only joined the party after Duterte took office in 2016 take over PDP-Laban.

"We will continue acting that we are PDP-Laban. Ang continuation sa amin e. If ever may changes na mangyari, it's a power grab," Pimentel said.

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Cusi said the power to lead the party is not inherited nor delegated by another leader as it emanates from the members themselves. Contrary to Pimentel's claims, Cusi said they joined the party even before Duterte decided to run for president in 2016.

"Ang ginagawa namin is we are trying to put order dito sa partido. Because the party is not only for the presidential candidate, the party is for the entire organization, for the entire elective positions of the party," he said.

PDP-Laban elections on July 17

Cusi, who is part of the PDP-Laban faction that pushes for Duterte's vice presidential candidacy, is set to preside over the July 17 national assembly of the party, where they will discuss their plans for the 2022 elections.

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An election will also take place during the national assembly, he said.

"Every two years we should have our election. Napakaraming taon na ang nagdaan na hindi tayo nagkaroon ng election. So bale kaming lahat are acting officers," Cusi said.

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"Para maisaayos yan, para magkaroon ng mandate e dapat humingi tayo ng mandato sa mga miyembro. I-subject natin ang sarili natin sa eleksyon. And that is what will happen on July 17," he added.

Cusi earlier said that while an election could take place during the national assembly, it was not part of the meeting's agenda to "oust" Pacquiao as party president.

He reiterated his call to Pacquiao's camp to attend the meeting, saying that it was the opportunity for them to sort out the issues within the party.

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