Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon sees a split in the ruling PDP-Laban following the ongoing rift between the party’s vice-chairman Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, and President Sen. Manny Pacquiao.
“The ruling party will be split, which reminds me when the late President Cory Aquino endorsed former president (Fidel) Ramos against (the late) Speaker Ramon Mitra,” said Drilon.
Drilon also said the sign of an impending split of PDP-Laban is that President Rodrigo Duterte told Cusi to go ahead and convene the party in Cebu last month.
“I would not be surprised if Sen. Pacquiao wakes up one morning in July and he is no longer the president or the acting president of PDP-Laban,” said Drilon.
“It is not very often that you hear the family of the founder of PDP-Laban Sen. Aquilino Pimentel II, saying the PDP-Laban will implode,” stressed Drilon.
“I am not surprised because there is already a PDP-Laban 1 and PDP-Laban 2. PDP-Laban 1, I’d like to think, is the original PDP-Laban formed by my good friend, the late Sen. Nene Pimentel. The other is headed by Sec. Cusi.”
Responding to the query if the PDP-Laban split will affect the LP, he replied, “It will not harm the opposition to have the split…If there’s a split in the administration, given all the resources, given the troll farms, given the resources that they have, certainly, a split will help the opposition.”
However, Drilon said it takes a lot of work for them to be able to take advantage of it.
Firstly, he said the opposition must have only one candidate. He explained once there is a consensus as to who the principal player will be in the opposition, then it will be the role of whoever will be anointed to try to consolidate the ranks of the opposition.
According to Drilon, their concentration is to prepare if Vice-president Leni Robredo runs for President. “If she will not run , we are open to alliances and we are open to discussion.”
“Unfortunately, we have no strong political party and it is still personality-based. When election comes, many are joining. When election is over, everybody gets attracted to the President as a person in power. I am not saying the party in power but the person in power.”
He admitted party members were scattered after former President Noynoy Aquino left the presidency and “I attribute it to our very weak political party system.”
Meanwhile, Pacquiao could be ousted as PDP-Laban president or kicked out of the party after a rift with the party Chairman President Rodrigo Duterte.
But Pacquiao is confident he has the support of the majority of PDP members.
Earlier, Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III said the President and Pacquiao should meet to settle their internal differences,
Pimentel also rejected questions on the legality of Pacquiao sitting as party president. He said, “succession does not require permission of party members.”
PDP-Laban Executive Director Ron Munsayac said Pacquiao will not attend the July 17 event. He noted that any resolution or decision that will be borne out of this unauthorized activity will be ignored.
Pimentel also said he will not attend the July 17 meeting.
Both Pacquiao and Pimentel failed to show up during the party’s National Council Assembly in Cebu last May.
Munsayac said Pacquiao enjoys the “overwhelming support” from the party’s grassroots and longtime members.
“Out of our more than 100,000 card-carrying members, only a little more than 5,000 are politicians (from President to councilors). Just to be clear, those who attended the activity called by Sen. Cusi last May 31 numbered a mere 100 members out of the 100,000 in our roster,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, also Acting President of the Nationalist People’s Coalition said , “If Sen. Manny wants to join the NPC, we will cross the bridge when we get there. But of course, he is welcome,”