President Rodrigo Duterte is ignoring the move made by the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) faction headed by Senator Manny Pacquiao to boot him out as party chairman.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte believes that he remains chair, stressing that only the Supreme Court could rule out a decision to settle the issue over party legitimacy.
“The President believes he remains chairman. The Supreme Court should make a decision regarding this issue,” he said in a Palace press briefing on Wednesday.
On Sunday, the Pacquiao-led faction announced that it ousted Duterte as party chairman, who has thrown support for the PDP-Laban faction led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III replaced Duterte as chair while Pacquiao was elected as the party president.
Earlier, the Cusi faction secretary-general Melvin Matibag dismissed the other faction’s election of new officers as a “comedy.”
“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,” Matibag said in a press statement.
Matibag 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.
In July, Cusi’s group ousted Pacquiao as PDP-Laban president and replaced him with the Energy chief.
Pacquiao has alleged corruption in the administration but Duterte challenged him to come up with solid proof.
The boxer-turned-senator is expected to announce this month whether he is proceeding with his presidential bid.
In July, the Pacquiao-Pimentel wing submitted to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a Sworn Information Update Statement (SIUS), which then recognized Duterte as party chairman.
Cusi’s group on Aug. 5 filed its own SIUS listing a new set of officers led by Duterte as chairman and Cusi as president.
On Aug. 23, Comelec chairman Sheriff Abas said the poll body en banc has yet to tackle the feud between two PDP-Laban factions.