Duterte ‘unites’ PDP-Laban factions, vows help in 2019

Camille Elemia
Duterte ‘unites’ PDP-Laban factions, vows help in 2019
President Rodrigo Duterte will meet with party leaders again in September, ahead of the filing of certificates of candidacy

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte vowed to help PDP-Laban in the 2019 elections, as he met with the two warring factions of the ruling party Thursday night, August 9. (READ: PDP-Laban struggles for unity, survival ahead of 2019 polls)

Duterte met with the group of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, party president, and that of lawyer Rogelio Garcia, the President’s classmate, at the Diamond Hotel in Manila.

According to Special Assistant to the President Bong Go, Duterte first met each group separately before gathering them all in a room.

Pimentel said the meeting with Duterte, their party chairman, went well.

“It was good because the President mentioned to us his commitment to help the party by campaigning for good candidates,” Pimentel said.

“We have to unite. The small issues, if there are questions about party processes, party leadership, publicly rebelling is not the way to do it. He said if there’s a problem, let us talk,” Pimentel said.

Willy Talag, who sought to replace former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary general under Garcia’s group, shared this sentiment.

“’Yun ang ating ikabubuti…. Maliwanag kanina na walang paksiyonan, maganda ang naging pagpupulong,” Talag told Rappler in a phone interview. (That’s what is best for us. It was clear earlier that there were no factions. The meeting went well.)

Go said Duterte called on both groups to think of the country in their decisions.

“Tulad ng isang ama na pilit pinagbabati ang mga anak na may hindi pagkakaintindihan, namagitan si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa mga miyembro ng PDP-Laban upang magkaisa ang lahat para sa kabutihan ng partido.” Go said.

(Like a father trying to settle the issues between children, Duterte intervened in the factions in PDP-Laban to unite them for the good of the party.)

“Hinimok niya ang mga lider ng magkabilang grupo na unahin ang kapakanan ng bayan sa lahat ng kanilang magiging desisyon,” Go said. (He urged leaders of both groups to think of the country’s welfare in their decisions.)

Talag said another meeting would be held in September, a month before the filing of the certificates of candidacy.

Garcia’s camp earlier held a national assembly where they elected “new” party officers. They, however, retained Duterte as chairman and Go as auditor. The camp had accused Pimentel’s group of violating the party’s rules and constitution when it held a mass oath-taking of new members without the required proper basic seminar.

Pimentel, in turn, said Garcia’s group is composed of “expelled rogue members” and that necessary charges would be filed against them. 

Aside from PDP-Laban, there are two other parties being associated with Duterte: Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which was formed by his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, and the newly-established Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, which is led by those who supported him in the 2016 presidential campaign. – Rappler.com

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Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation issues, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com