MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte remains the chair of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
PDP-Laban secretary-general Melvin Matibag issued this statement on Sunday after the faction led by Senator Manny Pacquiao elected Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III as party chair, supposedly to replace Duterte.
Matibag described the recent development as a "comedy", adding that Pimentel, whose late father Aquilino Jr. was the PDP-Laban founder, does not represent the party.
"It’s a 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,” he said in a press statement.
He insisted Duterte remains at the helm of the ruling party.
“President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is the PDP Laban party chairman. He remains to be so and will continue to be so,” he added.
PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac earlier said the "original" PDP-Laban elected the new party officials in a national council on Sunday afternoon.
In a text message, he said former Eastern Samar governor Lutgardo Barbo was elected vice chair.
In July, the group of Secretary Alfonso Cusi ousted Pacquiao as PDP-Laban president and replaced him with the Department of Energy chief.
Pacquiao has alleged corruption in the administration but Duterte challenged him to come up with solid proof.
The President also said Pacquiao is impatient to be named as the party’s presidential bet.
Pacquiao, who lost via unanimous decision to Cuban Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas on Aug. 22 (Aug. 21, US time), is reportedly slated to arrive in Manila from Los Angeles, California on Sunday night. (PNA)