President Rodrigo Duterte ordered warring factions of PDP-Laban to unite and prepare for the 2019 elections and to avoid "publicly rebelling" in case of disagreements, according to Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III.
"[Duterte said] kung may question about party processes [or] party leadership, publicly rebelling is not the way to do it. Sabi niya if there is a problem, let us talk," Pimentel told reporters after the meeting, which was held at Diamond Hotel on Thursday night.
Pimentel, the party president, and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, secretary general, head one PDP-Laban faction while the other was headed by lawyer Rogelio Garcia, a long-time party member and a classmate of Duterte's.
Garcia's faction, which gathered in Quezon City recently in an apparent show of force, has questioned the mass oath-takings of new party members by Pimentel's faction because the new recruits supposedly did not undergo basic membership seminar.
Duterte, who is PDP-Laban chairman, met separately with the two groups first before gathering them together, according to Mav Gonzales' report on Unang Balita on Friday.
Pimentel said party leadership was not discussed during the meeting, which started around 7 p.m. and lasted up to 11 p.m. on Thursday.
"This meeting is not a proper forum for a change in leadership," he said.
Pimentel said Duterte, during the meeting, told them to "focus on the party's campaign promises [like] federalism and the all-out war against crime, drugs and corruption."
He said the President also told them to prepare for next year's elections as the period for the filing of certificate of candidacy for those planning to run "is fast approaching."
"Sabi niya he's duty bound to help the party's candidates," Pimentel said, adding Duterte also told them to have a "very good screening process" for candidates.
"Huwag lang daw namin siya ipasubo na, you know, involved [pala] sa drugs 'yung kandidato. We should have a very good screening process," Pimentel said.
Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino, who was present in the gathering, said another meeting is scheduled in September, ahead of the start of filing of COC in October.
"Maliwanag naman sa bawat kampo na kelangan magkaisa," he said, assessing the meeting.
"Meron lang kasing mga hinihiling ang bawat grupo na magkaharap pero maliwanag naman sa lahat na ang Presidente ang masusunod," Tolentino added.
Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go said fixing the internal squabble is “very important” to Duterte.
“Hinimok niya ang mga liders ng magkabilang grupo na unahin ang kapakanan ng bayan sa lahat ng kanilang magiging desisyon,” said Go, who was also present in the meeting.
Duterte presided over the party caucus in a bid to unite the two factions that emerged recently.
“Kung talagang hindi kakayaning magkasundo ay puwede naman pong maghiwa-hiwalay. Pero ngayon po, ang sabi niya ay mag-usap muna ang lahat ng mga tao na nasa loob ng partido,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview on radio dzRH.
Garcia did not comment about the meeting, the Unang Balita report said.
Watch! | "Pres. Duterte told PDP-Laban Members to Unite and Prepare for 2019 polls" - Koko Pimentel
4/ 5Oleh BNP Correspondent