By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Despite being gathered by President Duterte in a hotel in Manila Thursday night, members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) seem to still have not found common ground.
Duterte met with high-ranking members of the political party which catapulted him to the presidency last 2016 polls amid infighting among its officials.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, in a radio interview, said that Duterte will meet with members of PDP-Laban next month to try to unite the party.
“Ang sabi po ni Presidente mag usap-usap sila, usap-usap lahat, at pagkatapos, I think sa Setyembre magpupulong uli (The President said that the members should talk among themselves and then the President will meet them again in September),” he said.
“Tapos kung talagang hindi kakayaning magkasundo ay puwede naman pong maghiwa-hiwalay (Then if they really cannot settle all their issues, they can go their separate ways),” he added.
Duterte met with the wing led by party president Senator Koko Pimentel III and former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, and as well as the wing led by Duterte’s former classmate lawyer Rogelio Garcia.
According to Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go, Duterte met the leaders of both factions and told them to resolve all their concerns without animosity and with the end goal of uniting the party.
“Tulad ng isang ama na pilit pinagbabati ang mga anak na may hindi pagkakaintindihan (Just like a father who tries to reconcile his children who have misunderstandings),” Go described Duterte.
“Hinimok nya ang mga liders ng magkabilang grupo na unahin ang kapakanan ng bayan sa lahat ng kanilang magiging desisyon (He encouraged the leaders of the two factions to put first the interest of the country in every decision they make),” he added.
Duterte then encouraged party members to raise their grievances in the plenary. The caucus ended with a commitment from both sides to work things out.
The infighting in the ruling party was made known to the public following the assembly held by Garcia’s faction two weeks ago. The elected a new set of officials for the party, replacing Pimentel as party president, and Alvarez as secretary general.
The election prompted Pimentel’s wing to hold mass oath-takings of new members without having them undergo basic membership seminar.
The former Senate President said that he was mulling charges against those who were involved in the unauthorized assembly for besmirching the party’s name.