Duterte takes oath as PDP-Laban chairman

Pia Ranada

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Duterte takes oath as PDP-Laban chairman
The standard-bearer of PDP-Laban for the 2016 elections is now its chairman. The oath-taking caps his campaign kick-off in Tondo, Manila.

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential candidate and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte took his oath as the new chairman of political party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Tuesday, February 9 in Tondo, Manila.

In the presidential elections, Duterte is PDP-Laban’s standard-bearer

He replaces chairman Mike Sueño and is now second only to PDP-Laban president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

“This was offered to him a long time ago, but the personality of the mayor is that he doesn’t want to accept a position that is occupied by somebody else,” Pimentel told Rappler.

Dutere was offered the position in the middle of 2015, even before he announced his decision to run for president. In fact, the position was to “psychologically convince him, prepare him to run for president,” said Pimentel.

The senator stressed, however, that Duterte’s duties as chairman will not conflict with his presidential campaign.

“He will preside over the national assembly, the highest policy-making body in our party. In our Constitution, it must be held once a year. The day-to-day management falls on the shoulders of the president and the secretary-general,” explained Pimentel.

KICK-OFF. Rodrigo Duterte courts possible voters from Tondo, Manila. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

Before the oath-taking, Duterte never held leadership positions in the party.

However, Pimentel and his father, PDP-Laban founder Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel had tasked Duterte to go on a nationwide listening tour to promote a federalist form of government for the Philippines. 

Federalism is among the main advocacies of PDP-Laban. The elder Pimentel authored the Local Government Code of 1991. In his view, federalism would allow a higher degree of devolution of powers to the local level.

A shift to a federalist system of government is also one of the pillar’s of Duterte’s electoral platform.

He has told voters in sorties that federalism will empower local government units and give them more control over their resources and planning their development.

Senator Alan Peter Cayateno, Duterte’s running mate, also embraces federalism, saying it will more evenly distribute wealth and development throughout the Philippines.

Cayetano is a member of the Nacionalista Party but has been adopted by PDP-Laban as its vice-presidential candidate. 

Duterte’s oath-taking capped his campaign kick-off in Tondo, Manila. – Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.