Roque to Pacquiao: Duterte told Cusi to hold PDP-Laban assembly

Editor's Note: The PDP-Laban National Council Meeting is pushing through on Monday, May 31. Watch the livestream below.

The squabble among the leaders of ruling party PDP-Laban continues.

PDP-Laban acting president Senator Manny Pacquiao was dealt a blow on Sunday, May 30, when Malacañang said President Rodrigo Duterte himself directed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, party vice chairman, to mount their national assembly on Monday, May 31.

Duterte is the PDP-Laban chairman.

Cusi "was directed" by Duterte "to organize, convene, and preside over the council meeting," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a statement on Sunday, May 30.

"This move, which is part of the democratic exercise, aims to consult party members and have fruitful and productive exchanges on issues affecting PDP-Laban," continued Roque.

Pacquiao opposes the national council meeting called by Cusi, saying any such assembly should be approved by both the party president and party chairman.

On Sunday, Pacquiao's camp remained adamant. PDP-Laban executive director Ron Munsayac questioned Roque's statement.

"[If] this purported council meeting is sanctioned by our chairman, how come we have not received any formal communication from the chairman/President Duterte, only an announcement from his spokesperson who isn't even a party mate," said Munsayac.

"Let us follow the proper process," he stressed. 

He added that Pacquiao will request for a meeting with Duterte "so the two party leaders can discuss and set the agenda for the legitimate national council meeting to be set a month before the filing of candidacies, or earlier if the chairman wishes."

The PDP-Laban national council meeting on Monday aims to discuss "administrative matters in preparation for the 2022 national elections."

Cusi informed Pacquiao on May 19 about the assembly, but Pacquiao responded with a memorandum to party members last Tuesday, May 25, strongly advising them to ignore the call for the party gathering.

Pacquiao is reportedly eyeing a presidential bid in 2022. –