Political parties gird for September conventions; PDP-Laban ousts Duterte as chairman; Lacson, Sotto unfazed

BETTER TIMES. President Rodrigo Duterte raises the hands of Sen. Manny Pacquiao in happier times together

By Jeanne Michael Penaranda
MANILA – Political parties have stepped up flexing their muscles to firm up their candidates for the 2022 elections in their respective party conventions next month as the filing of certificates of candidacies opens on October 1.
The ruling PDP-Laban-Cusi wing and the tandem of Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III have scheduled their party events on the same day, Sept. 8. The PDP-Laban will meet at the San Jose del Monte City Convention Center in Bulacan while the Lacson-Sotto team coming from mixed parties has yet to announce their venue.

This developed as Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III was elected on August 29 as the new chairman of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-LABAN), replacing President Rodrigo Duterte.

National and regional officers, and national committee chairmen led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao, whom the faction regards as still party President, held a national council meeting at 2 p.m. on August 29, said Ron Munsayac, National Executive Director and Chairman of the Public Information Committee of PDP-Laban.

“The PDP Laban National Council elected Sen. Koko Pimentel as its Chairman & former Gov. Lutgardo Barbo as Vice Chairman,” Munsayac said in an initial statement to the press.

Lacson and Sotto, meanwhile, said they were unfazed by the announcement President Rodrigo Duterte that he has accepted the endorsement of the PDP-Laban to run for vice president.
 Sotto, chairman of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) party, and Sen.  Lacson,  said that Duterte’s acceptance of the PDP-Laban’s nomination does not affect their plans.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, meanwhile, said their national convention is scheduled at the end of September.

Pangilinan has not disclose the LP candidates, but it is supporting Vice President Leni Robredo.
 Pangilinan also declined to name the LP’s senatorial candidates. “Depende lahat sa unity talks at pasya ni VP (Leni Robredo) ang composition ng slate, 1Sambayan endorsement and other related concerns,” he said.
Aksyon Demokratiko, which is  now headed by Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, said their party is yet to schedule its convention, as he has yet to decide  whether he will run for reelection or seek a national position – president or vice president.
The Lacson-Sotto pair decided to reschedule their Aug. 4 launching to Sept. 8 because of the growing threat of the COVID-19 Delta variant.

Sotto, in a Viber message said, their ticket will carry the battle cry: “We need a Leader 2022.”

Senators Richard Gordon and Sherwin Gatchalian, meanwhile, said they may run for president and vice president, respectively, although they have the option to run for reelection.
TRANSCO President and CEO Melvin Matibag, who sits as secretary-general of the PDP-Laban-Cusi wing, said many party members have already committed their physical attendance for their Sept. 8 national convention.

Matibag said they have extended their group’s invitation to the camp of Senators Manny Pacquiao and Aquilino Koko Pimentel, who continue to question the legitimacy of the Cusi wing.

Before flying to Los Angeles, Pacquiao said their  PDP-Laban group will hold its national convention on September 18.