By Ben Rosario
Smarting from recent upheavals that threaten party unity, PDP-Laban, launched Thursday its bid to remain the country’s most dominant political party by preparing for the 2019 elections.
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, party president and secretary general, respectively, led 160 party executives in threshing out issues that threaten PDP-Laban which boasts President Rodrigo Duterte as its chairman.
Pimentel revealed to the media that proposals to assign former president and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a national leadership post in the party are now being studied.
Beside Duterte, Arroyo is the highest ranked government official of the party. Both were not present at the meeting.
At least 160 national party officers, including 50 congressmen, attended Thursday PDP-Laban leadership meeting in a Quezon City hotel.
The meeting followed the recent leadership change in the Lower House and the general assembly called by alleged party renegades who ousted Pimentel, Alvarez and other national executive committee officers of the party.
Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, leader of the party’s House contingent, said Arroyo supporters are confident that giving her bigger national responsibility will bolster the PDP-Laban’s stranglehold of the country’s politics.
Benitez and Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo are the senior party members who have proposed a national position for Arroyo in the PDP-laban.
Pimentel explained that unlike other political groups, the PDP-Laban has no policy that automatically gives a high ranking government official a national position in the party.
“Unfortunately, that is not the tradition in the PDP-Laban. But it makes sense so we have to entertain it,” the former Senate president said.
Pimentel said the party will soon assign members of a committee that will be in charge of issuing certificates of nomination and acceptance (CONA) for the 2019 elections.
The committee, it was gathered, will decide which candidate will represent the party in all positions and will resolve issues affecting rivalries among party members.
“Now that we are a big party with more than 100,000 members, we have to form a committee for this,” Pimentel told reporters.
The administration senator also welcomed the decision of the new House leadership to allow separate voting once Senate and the House of Representatives are convened into a constituent assembly for Charter revision.
Pimentel said the party remains glued to its bid for a shift to federal system.
“Please trust your party leadership, we have never made a decision to the detriment of our party. Let us not be distracted by the attacks and the issues against us,” he stressed.