Requiem for PDP-Laban?


FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao

In September, both factions of the ruling PDP-Laban Party, one led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and the other by Senator Manny Pacquiao, asked the Commission on Elections to rule as to which of the two is the legitimate group to represent the party in next year’s election.

But even before the Comelec could come up with its ruling on the inter-party squabble, the two groups suddenly abandoned the party and their presidential candidates opted to run under different parties.

Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, the president’s long-time aide, is now running for president under the heretofore unknown party, the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS), founded by Presidential Anti-Corruption (PACC) Chairman Greco Belgica.

Not a few raised their eyebrows when they heard that Go would run under PDDS but a check with the internet shows that the PDDS was accredited as a national political party by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on October 30, 2018.

When President Duterte finally settled to run for senator after titillating the people with his plan to retire and later to run for vice president, is also running under the PDDS.

After Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa withdrew his candidacy for president under the PDP-Laban, the Cusi-wing has no presidential candidate in the upcoming polls.

In fact, the PDP-Laban, once a dominant political party founded by the late Senator Aquilino Pimemtel, has now zero involvement in the 2022 elections after Pacquiao also opted to abandon the PDP-Laban and run under Promdi, a Cebu-based political party founded by the late Cebu Governor Lito Osmena.

Storied past

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP), the first half of what is now known as PDP-Laban, was founded on Feb, 6, 1982, Aquilino (Nene) Pimentel, Jr, In February 1983, PDP formally merged with Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN), the party founded in 1978 by Senator Benigno Aquino, Jr,

In August 1983, Aquino was assassinated. In October 1985, Joaquin “Chino” Roces launched the Cory Aquino for President Movement (CAPM), which aimed to nominate Aquino’s widow, Cory, as the opposition’s presidential candidate.

PDP–Laban was a strong supporter of the movement. In November 1985, Marcos called for a snap presidential election. Later that month, the opposition parties, including PDP–Laban, formed a new coalition called Laban ng Bayan headed by Senator Salvador Laurel who eventually gave way and became Aquino’s running mate under the UNIDO-Laban ng Bayan coalition.

PDP–Laban then aligned itself with UNIDO, which became the main group and leader of the coalition that opposed Marcos. After the EDSA People Power rebellion of 1986, which saw Aquino and Laurel proclaimed president and vice president respectively, PDP–Laban continued its alliance with UNIDO until the latter’s dissolution in 1987.

In 1988, PDP–Laban was split into two factions: the Pimentel Wing led by Pimentel and the Cojuangco Wing led by Jose “Peping” Cojuangco. Later the PDP-Laban merged with the Lakas ng Bansa party of Speaker Ramon Mitra, Jr. in 1988 to form the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino party.

After the merger, the prominence of PDP–Laban greatly dwindled especially after Pimentel’s death and was almost a moribund party until Rodrigo Duterte ran under its banner in 2016 and won.

Is history repeating itself? After its top leaders, including Mr. Duterte, have abandoned the PDP-Laban, is it finally a requiem for the once dominant and most powerful political party in the country?

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