Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi’s faction of PDP-Laban, the political party founded in 1982 by activists and politicians who were against Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s authoritarian rule, has backed the candidacy of the late dictator’s son for president in 2022.

The Cusi wing of PDP-Laban on Tuesday officially endorsed former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for president in 2022.

The faction earlier endorsed Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of the party’s chairman President Rodrigo Duterte, for vice president. Duterte-Carpio is the running-mate of Bongbong.

“After our consultation with the PDP-Laban members, we are endorsing the candidacy of Bongbong Marcos for president. Hindi po ito desisyon ng isang tao but ito po ay desisyon ng partido where we went through the process based on our constitution and by-laws. Sinunod po namin ‘iyon,” Cusi said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Cusi claimed several members of his PDP-Laban faction in the barangay and provincial levels were supportive of the Bongbong-Sara tandem.

PDP-Laban is fielding 6,592 candidates in the May 2022 elections. It however failed to field presidential and vice presidential candidates due to infighting.

To recall, the ruling party split into two factions in 2021: one headed by Sen. Manny Pacquiao and the other by Cusi.

Pacquiao is running for president in the 2022 elections under the Promdi party.

‘Slap to the face’

Pacquiao said the Cusi faction’s endorsement of Bongbong was a “slap to the face” of the party’s mission and vision.

“Baka nalimutan ni Cusi na ang PDP ay nabuo against sa Marcos regime. Baka nakalimutan lang niya. Lahat ng miyembro ng PDP, huwag po natin sundin si Cusi,” Pacquiao said.

“‘Yang PDP Laban na ‘yan nabuo ‘yan against Marcos, tapos sasapi kay Marcos? Isang sampal sa mga miyembro ng PDP,” he added.

No Duterte endorsement yet

Acting Palace spokesman Martin Andanar said Duterte had yet to endorse candidates in the 2022 elections.

“Ito ay malinaw na desisyon ng partido, pero hindi malinaw kung ito rin ang gusto ni Pangulong Duterte,” Andanar said in a Palace briefing.

Duterte had pushed for the presidency of his aide Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, but the latter had withdrawn his candidacy.

Cusi earlier this month said Duterte would start campaigning for PDP-Laban members gunning for posts in the 2022 elections starting March 25.

Duterte had said that he wanted a lawyer to succeed him as president. John Ezekiel J. Hirro