THE PDP Laban (Partido Demokratikong Pilipino/Pilipino Democratic Party – Laban) is a merger of Laban (1978) and PDP (February 6, 1982) in 1982 or 1983.
Laban is the older of the two.
Laban was organized by allies, friends and supporters of former Concepcion Mayor, Tarlac Governor and Senator Benigno Simeon Aquino, Jr., for the April 7 or 8 Interim Batasan Pambansa region-wide election of Assemblymen.
The last elections under the 1935 Constitution were the November 1971 local or mid elections.
The next elections were supposed to be national and presidential elections in November 1973.
These were aborted and preempted by the declaration and implementation of martial law on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, September 21, 22 and 23.
In 1973, a ‘viva voce’/’those who want food, please raise your hands,’ plebiscite/referendum on the draft constitution of the 1971 Constitutional Convention, was held.
That was one of many occasions when we were together with Nini Quezon Buencamino Avancena before, during and after Martial Law.
The Supreme Court allowed the 1973 Constitution with its transitory provisions to replace the 1935 Constitution.
During the formal (1972 – 1981) as well as the informal (1981 – 1986) Martial Law and the Dictatorship of President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, aside from barangay elections, the following elections were held:
- April 7 or 8, 1978 elections for IBP region wide assemblymen;
- January 1980 Local Elections;
- 1981 or 1982 Presidential (only) Election;
- February 7, 1986 snap Presidential and VP Elections;
Aside from the above, I remember participating in poll watching for special elections in San Fernando, Pampanga in 1981 or 1982.
From July 4, 1946, until September 22, 1972, the 1935 Constitution mandated a presidential form of government with a two - party system.
Prior to that, from 1906 until 1945, the Nacionalista Party dominated elections and governance.
Since 1946 until 1972, the Liberal Party and the Nacionalista Party have rotated in power.
In the November 1957, 1959 and 1965, a third party, the PPP and the Grand Alliance contested the elections.
In 1957, there was a fourth party, the Nationalist Citizens Party. In November 1961, the PPP/GA allied with the Liberal Party and the United Opposition Party defeated the Nacionalista Party.
After its defeat in 1957, the PPP retreated from elections and politics. Its leaders organized the Christian Social Movement (CSM).
They aligned with and sought to organize a base among non - Communist activists and sectors.
By 1970, 1971 and 1972, a group of progressive 1971 Con-con delegates together with student and youth, farmer, labor and other sectoral leaders were on the verge of organizing a new political party that could have been named ‘Kapisanan ng mga Anakpawis ng Pilipinas’.
This was the reason why I resigned as the Chairman (August 1970 – September 1972) of KASAPI, a moderate Christian/Democratic Socialist Organization and was meeting overnight on the eve of Martial Law.
When I was re – elected as Chairman of KASAPI in 1982 or 1983, we made it our priority and program to assist and support the organization of PDP.
On my part, as well as I believe Nene’s part, the formal organization of PDP in February 1982 was a continuation of what ML had aborted and stopped in September 1972.
What had made Lakas ng Bayan (LABAN) available for and willing to merge with the newly formed PDP in 1982 and 1983?
Post WW II and Independence, the Liberal Party was the administration party, 1946 – 1953 and 1961 – 1965. The Nacionalista Party was in power from 1953 to 1961 and 1965 to 1972/1986.
In November 1965, the incumbent, President Diosdado Macapagal ran for reelection with Senator Gerardo de Leon Roxas as his running mate for Vice President.
The Marcos-Lopez tandem defeated them. Remember the slogan ‘Alis Diyan!’
In November 1967, former Concepcion mayor and incumbent Tarlac Governor Benigno Simeon Aquino ran and won for senator.
Although he did not come out on top of the eight winning senators, he was the opposition and LP senator with the highest number of votes.
He qualified by the skin of his teeth since his birthday was on November 27, he was not yet thirty - five years old on election day.
In the run up to the November 1969 presidential elections, Senators Serging Osmena, Genaro Magsaysay and Jovito Salonga were leading LP presidentiables.
The Osmena-Magsaysay tandem won the convention. However, after the LP defeat and the Marcos victory, the leaders of the LP were as follows: Diosdado ‘Dadong’ Macapagal – Emeritus, Gerardo ‘Gerry’ Roxas – President, Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Simeon Aquino – Secretary General and next in prominence and still popular enough – Jovito ‘Jovy’ Salonga.
In the middle part of Martial Law, other parties like the National Union for Liberation (Congressman/Assemblyman Rogaciano Mercado), Pusyon Bisaya, Bicol Saro and the Mindanao Alliance (Assemblyman Ruben Canoy, Misamis Oriental Governor Homobono Adaza and Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Nene Pimentel) sprouted.
However, the leading opposition party was still the LP. But when Marcos called for and scheduled the IBP elections, the LP leadership decided to boycott the elections.
Thus, the LABAN was organized so that Ninoy could run. He was joined by twenty other oppositionists including Nene and ran in the National Capital region (NCR).
Aside from Cagayan de Oro City Mayor (January 1980 to May 1984) Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel, Jr., Central Visayas (Cebu City) Assemblyman Antonio ‘Tony’ Cuenco (April 1978 – 1986), the majority of the delegates and charter members of the PDP were activists, not so well known anti - Marcos politicians and human rights lawyers.
Initially, there were hardly any known personalities among the Luzon delegates and members. That is the reason why the idea of a merger with LABAN came up. (To be continued)