VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Robin Padilla wrongly claims SC has ‘decided’ on PDP-Laban chairmanship row


In a Senate subcommittee hearing on the judiciary’s budget proposal for 2023, Sen. Robinhood Padilla claimed that the Supreme Court has “decided” on the chairmanship issue between the two factions of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

This is false.


In the course of Padilla’s questioning, the legislator, who belongs to one faction of the party, described former president Rodrigo Duterte as chairman of PDP-Laban.

This prompted Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel, whose father was a co-founder PDP-Laban and heads the other bloc, to stand up in protest and said:

“Senator Padilla mentioned a name as chairman of the PDP-Laban and that is not correct as far as this representation is concerned, because I am the chairman of the PDP-Laban, the original PDP-Laban party.”


Source: Senate of the Philippines Official Youtube Channel, Committee on Finance – Subcommittee “A” (September 19, 2022), Sept. 19, 2022, watch from 1:05:22 to 1:05:39

Padilla then apologized, saying:

Pasensya na po kasi ang alam ko po, nadesisyunan na ng Supreme Court na ang PDP-Laban eh anopasensya na po kayo. Wala po akong intensyon na makasagasa o ano.”


(I apologize because what I know is that the Supreme Court has already decided that PDP-Laban is — I’m sorry. I have no intention to offend.)


Source: watch from 1:06:51 to 1:07:05

Pimentel corrected his colleague in the Senate once again and clarified that the dispute on the party’s chairmanship has not reached the Supreme Court.


The PDP-Laban’s leadership squabble in the 2022 elections has not been raised to the Supreme Court. In a text message to VERA Files Fact Check, Pimentel said the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to declare the constituents of the Alfonso Cusi-led group, like Padilla, as “true and official” members of PDP-Laban for the 2022 political exercise is still on appeal before the poll body.

In a different and separate leadership row also within PDP-Laban in the 2019 mid-term elections, however, the high court recognized the Pimentel-led faction and its leaders as the legitimate officers “authorized to act for and in [sic] behalf” of the party for the polls.

The SC’s decision came after a PDP-Laban group led by lawyer Rogelio Garcia ousted Pimentel as party president alongside other officers, and elected their own in a July 2018 assembly.

This affirmed the Comelec’s ruling in Nov. 2018 that also declared documents bearing the name of Pimentel as PDP-Laban chairman emeritus as “legitimate” and “official” papers of the party for the 2019 elections.


PDP-Laban was again split into two when members present at an assembly in Clark, Pampanga elected Cusi as the party’s “new president” on July 17, 2021, subsequently ousting former senator Manny Pacquiao as president.

This came after Pacquiao made a series of statements alleging corruption in the Duterte administration and declaring that the country’s former president’s handling of the West Philippine Sea dispute was “lacking.”

The “original” PDP-Laban’s national council elected Pimentel as the party’s chairman on Aug. 29, 2021 and endorsed Pacquiao’s bid for president in the 2022 national elections. The Cusi group, on the other hand, backed Ferdinand Marcos Jr.


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Supreme Court of the Philippines, DCA Raul B. Villanueva is New Court Administrator, March 1, 2022

Supreme Court of the Philippines Public Information Office Twitter, Deputy Court Administrator Raul B. Villanueva has been appointed…, March 1, 2022

Senate of the Philippines Official Youtube Channel, Committee on Finance – Subcommittee “A” (September 19, 2022), Sept. 19, 2022

CNN Philippines, Pimentel group prevails in PDP Laban row, Nov. 30, 2018, Comelec declares Pimentel’s group as the ‘legitimate’ PDP Laban, Nov. 30, 2018

Rappler, Pimentel group is legitimate PDP-Laban – Comelec, Nov. 30, 2018

On the 2022 elections

Supreme Court of the Philippines, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Dayan, represented by Rogelio V. Garcia, National President Vs. Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Dayan, represented by Senator Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III, and the Commission on Elections, June 18, 2019

On the 2018 PDP-Laban split

On the 2021 PDP-Laban split

On Pacquiao

On Pimentel PDP-Laban and endorsement


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)