Duterte: PDP-Laban party strong, united ‘until end of my term and beyond’

Published July 17, 2021, 7:51 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party remains strong and united despite recent challenges, President Duterte declared following the election of new officials of the political group.

President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), delivers a speech during the national assembly of the PDP-Laban in Clark, Pampanga on July 17, 2021. (Malacañang)

The President recognized the growing strength of the administration party since he won the presidency in 2016, and thanked his party mates for their continued trust and confidence in his leadership.

The latest remarks of Duterte, chairman of the ruling party, were issued when he attended the PDP-Laban national assembly in Clark, Pampanga Saturday, July 17. He also led the oath-taking of the new party officers during the meeting.

“Your presence here sends a clear and resounding message to everyone that our Party is as strong as ever, and that we are united in further consolidating our ranks until the end of my term and beyond,” the President said.

“I also deeply appreciate your commitment to support whatever my decision may be for the 2022 national elections,” said Duterte, who earlier said he was seriously thinking of running for vice president when his six-year term ends next year.

Amid the leadership squabble in the party, Duterte argued that the PDP-Laban party has been “asleep for a 100 years” and only “woke up” when he ran for president under its banner in 2016. He issued such reminder to Senator Aquilino Pimentel III whom he blamed for allegedly starting “ruckus” within the party.

The senator, the son of the party’s co-founder the late Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., earlier asked his party mates to skip the Clark assembly since it was supposedly unauthorized. He is allied with Senator Manny Pacquiao, who was ousted as party president and replaced by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Cusi, a known ally of the President, previously served as the party’s vice chairman.

More than 200 party members attended the event amid the reported infighting over the choices for standard bearer in the 2022 elections.

The President, in the same remarks, admitted that he might as well run for vice president in next year’s elections after his critics threatened him with lawsuits when his six-year presidency ends.

Duterte, who recently topped a survey of preferred vice presidential contenders, noted that like the country’s president, the vice president supposedly enjoys immunity from lawsuit.