There are criminals who go scot-free because of technicalities. There are victims who couldn’t get justice because of technicalities. Now that Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) failed to produce its own candidate for president in the 2022 elections, it would like to rid of technicalities just to get what it wants? A joke, right?
Prior to the filing of candidacy last year, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and his gang elbowed the Manny Pacquio and Koko Pimentel out of PDP-Laban. Prioritizing politics as against his job as Energy Secretary, Cusi called for the PDP-Laban reorganization that led him to become the party chairman. This was supported by President Rodrigo Duterte. The aim then was to make Sara Duterte the party’s presidential candidate with President Duterte as the vice presidential candidate.
As a result, Pacquiao run for President but with Abag-PROMDI or the Progressive Movement for the Devolution of Initiatives or Probinsya Muna Development Initiative. Unfortunately, not all plans happen as expected. Instead of running for President, Sara vied for Vice President not with PDP-Laban but with Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats. This ruined the plans of the Cusi faction.
Worse, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go who earlier filed for VP candidacy under the PDP-Laban ticket resigned and became a substitute presidential candidate under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS). The party earlier fielded Grepor Belgica, the father of Duterte ally and Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission chair Greco Belgica. Eventually, after a series of dramacomedy, Bong Go withdrew his candidacy.
The Cusi faction is now in disarray and will be missing the action in the presidential race come 2022. Hence, in last-ditch effort, the Cusi faction filed a petition to extend the filing of candidacy and postpone the finalization of candidates as well as the printing of ballots.
The Pacquiao-Pimentel wing, however, accused the Cusi faction of trying “to subvert the will of the people” and creating a ‘“ploy to derail” the upcoming polls and a push for a no-election (no-el) scenario‘. Senatorial aspirant and PDP-Laban Pacquiao wing Vice Chairman Lutgardo Barbo said, “Such Petition was filed by mere usurpers and pretenders designed to mislead the public that they are authorized by the Party to do such farcical acts”.
Indeed, the action of Cusi faction was a desperate move as they became victim of the Duterte family’s theatrics. Local candidates under the PDP-Laban are now jumping ships benefitting Leni Robredo and Manny Pacquiao with a few shifting to Bongbong Marcos. Unless the Commission on Election (Comelec) rules in favor of the petition, PDP-Laban will soon find itself under the rugs. The favorable ruling, however, is unlikely as this will create a precedent and Comelec will just be creating a hammer to hit its head. Every election, petitions like this will be filed and Comelec will be in a bind to grant the same.
On the macro, the Cusi faction’s experience and corresponding petition simply highlights how Duterte had made a joke on his (and Cory Aquino’s) party, and how farcical the Philippine political party system is.
On the micro, the joke just fell on Cusi who couldn’t even ensure a cheap and sustainable energy in the Philippines (which is his job as Energy Secretary, by the way) and yet is engaged in highly partisan activities. Worse, the joke fell on Filipinos who believed that Duterte could change the political system being “a promdi, a Mindanawon, and coming from non-elites”.
Anyway, Duterte is well known for his words, “Nag-joke lang ako, naniwala naman kayo”.