President Duterte is apparently not inclined to endorse any move to wrest control of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party from the Pimentels.
According to Presidential spokesman Harry Roque, the President has recognized the party leadership of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi but remained aware that the ruling party belongs to the Pimentel family.
The President is scheduled to attend the PDP-Laban party’s assembly in Clark, Pampanga this Saturday amid reported infighting in the group ahead of the 2022 elections. The upcoming party meeting is reportedly organized by Cusi, the vice chairman who was recently expelled from the party.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, executive vice chairman, earlier urged party members not to attend the supposed unauthorized meeting. The senator is the son of the late Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., the founder of the political party.
“I have to say in the past, sinabi naman niya na PDP it is what it is dahil sumali naman tayo diyan at alam niya na partido ‘yan ng mga Pimentel ‘no so hindi niya inaalis ‘yon sa pamilyang Pimentel (he said about PDP, it is what it is because we joined the party and he knows it’s the party of the Pimentel so he is not taking that away from the Pimentel family),” Roque said during a media interview Thursday.
Roque made the remarks amid the reported infighting within the administration party over the choices for presidential and vice presidential candidate in next year’s elections.
The Cusi-led faction has asked President Duterte to run for vice president and choose the party’s standard bearer in the 2022 elections. Duterte later said he was seriously thinking of running for vice president but asked the party to select a viable standard bearer.
Duterte recently had a falling out with Senator Manny Pacquiao, the party president, after rejecting the latter’s corruption allegations and criticisms on his West Philippine Sea stance. Pacquiao is rumored to be eyeing the presidency in next year’s polls.
Roque admitted that the President has kept mum about the PDP-Laban issue when he recently sought Duterte’s comments. “He wants the shroud of mystery and suspense pagdating diyan sa PDP-Laban (when it comes to PDP-Laban),” he said.