President Duterte, national chairman of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), told party stalwarts that he was facing more serious problems than their infighting, the President’s top aide yesterday said.
“The President has urged them not to add to the many problems that he was facing. It’s a good thing they listened to him,” said Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go in Filipino.
Duterte met with quarreling PDP-Laban members for more than five hours at the Manila Diamond Hotel last Thursday.
The President was like a father disciplining his children, Go said, calling on the factions to thresh out the issues between them.
Faced with rising inflation, followed by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ move to raise its benchmark rate by 50 basis points this week, Duterte told the groups led by former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel III and lawyer Rogelio Garcia to shape up or ship out.
Go said Duterte was unable to hide his disappointment over his partymates who were giving him a headache.
Go, who has been appointed auditor of the two factions, said the President expressed his hopes that the party leaders would be able to settle their differences next month.
“It will be finalized this September, because party members claimed that there was no convention that addressed their complaints,” Go said. “This caucus is what they’ve been clamoring for.”
The President underscored the need for PDP-Laban to unite in preparation for the midterm elections next year.
“The September assembly is going to be open to the plenary, so if you have grievances or complaints, bring them all up. By that time, the President hopes for all to unite and be just one PDP-Laban,” Go told their party members.
“PDP-Laban needs to issue the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CONA),” Go said, noting that the leaders need to determine the signatories of CONA and certificates of candidacy.
Pimentel yesterday said he did not care what the faction of Garcia wants to do, even if it means creating a separate party.
“We don’t have any problems within the party so we won’t waste our time (with them),” Pimentel said over radio station dwIZ.
“They are the ones who want to separate from us, so I guess it’s good riddance,” he added.
In a message to reporters, Pimentel presented some documents to show that Garcia ran for various elective posts as a member of different political parties apart from PDP-Laban.
Pimentel noted that Garcia ran for congressman of the first district of South Cotabato as a Liberal Party (LP) candidate in 2010.
In 2012, Garcia made a bid for the Sangguniang Panlungsod of General Santos City in South Cotabato as a candidate of United Nationalist Alliance.
Pimentel pointed out that Garcia ran for congressman in the first district of Makati City as a candidate of the LP in 2016.
Garcia’s partymate, and his group’s secretary-general Willy Talag, also ran for congressman in the first district of Makati in 2016, as a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition.
“Who are they? How loyal are they to the party? They run for office in every election under different parties,” Pimentel said.
Another meeting with Duterte would be held on Sept. 1 where Pimentel said possible candidates of PDP-Laban for next year’s elections would be presented.
"Don’t add to my Problems"- Pres. Duterte to PDP-Laban leaders
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent