Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on Wednesday refuted Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s claim that he had blamed “outsiders” for the falling out among PDP-Laban members.

Duterte-Carpio claimed in a statement that Pimentel and PDP-Laban executive director Ronwald Munsayac faulted her for causing the intraparty rift that led to PDP-Laban splitting into two factions.

“Senator Pimentel and Mr. Ronwald Munsayac should stop blaming me for the sad state of their political party. It is not my fault that no one among you is a leader worthy of the respect of the majority,” she said.

“Do not blame me for the sitcom that your party has been reduced to,” she added.

Pimentel said Duterte-Carpio’s statement came as a surprise as he had never “dragged an outsider into our ‘internal dispute'” nor blamed an outsider for it.

“Our internal dispute has been caused by someone from the inside,” Pimentel said.

The PDP-Laban faction of acting party president Sen. Manny Pacquiao in July expelled Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and two others from the ruling party for allegedly backing members of another political party.

The faction said the expelled members were supporting Duterte-Carpio, a member of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago party, for president.

But Cusi, with the support of President Rodrigo Duterte, has continued contending with Pacquiao for power over PDP-Laban, leading to the divide within the party.

“That an outsider is being considered as the presidential candidate by an insider is not the fault of the person being mentioned but the fault of the insider who lacks faith, confidence and loyalty to his party and the talent and skills of the party members,” Pimentel said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro