PDP-Laban’s Mindanao bloc bolts ruling party

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MANILA, Philippines  –  More than 200 members of the ruling PDP-Laban have bolted from the party; declaring independence from its National Council headed by Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The bolting party members, composed of the so-called Mindanao bloc, said in a statement from hereon they “will exercise the organizational and administrative management of the party in Mindanao until such time that the unconstitutional actions of the national officers are put to a stop and all the violations committed in the past are rectified.”

However, the group stressed that they would continue to support President Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of the party.

The resolution was signed by Cesar Ledesma, co-founder of the party; Cesar Cuntapay, president of the Mindanao Area Council (MAC) and Atty. Rogelio Garcia, Region XII council president and a former official in Cory Aquino administration.

The group have accused Pimentel, Alvarez and Astra Naik, chairman of the party’s Membership Committee, of committing repeated gross violation of the party Constitution which include illegal process of new members, making decisions without consulting the party and “neglect of the party principle on consultative and participatory democracy.”

Cuntapay said they have been reaching out to the party’s national leadership to discuss these issues but were ignored.

The PDP-Laban earlier expelled five of its members including Ledesma, Cuntapay, Garcia, Davao del Norte (1st District) Rep. Antonio R. Floirendo Jr. and Noli Garcia of Region IX (Zamboanga) who filed the motion declaring Alvarez “persona non grata” during a party gathering in Tagum City.

Cuntapay also filed a libel complaint against Alvarez for calling him “may katok” or a mentally-deranged person.