Duterte downplays PDP-Laban rift as party infighting continues

·Contributor
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the arrival ceremony for the first COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 28, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez
FILE PHOTO: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the arrival ceremony for the first COVID-19 vaccines to arrive in the country, at Villamor Air Base in Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines, February 28, 2021. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called on his allies in the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to “stand together and remain united” as factions within the party continued to clash.

Boxing icon turned senator Manny Pacquiao, who is the party's acting president, criticized Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, the party's vice president, in the Senate for politicking amid the rotational blackouts in Luzon, signaling a continued rift between the party’s top brass less than a year ahead of the 2022 polls.

PDP-Laban adopted a resolution urging Duterte to run as vice president for 2022 in an assembly called by Cusi that pushed through despite Pacquiao's claim that energy chief had no authority to convene the party's national assembly.

Calls for Duterte to run for the country's second highest office were earlier dismissed by Pacquiao, who urged party members to focus on the pandemic.

Brewing tensions within the PDP-Laban party surfaced on May 31 when Pacquiao called for a boycott of the national assembly.

The senator, however, was forced to stand down after Malacañang revealed that no less than the president himself had ordered the energy boss to preside over the meeting.

The party’s secretary-general, Rep. Arnie Teves, who had previously shown his support for Pacquiao, claimed he was “bypassed” by Cusi.

Several key PDP-Laban figures, including members of Duterte's Cabinet and his allies in Congress, were present during the assembly.

According to PDP-Laban Executive Director Ron Munsayac, an ally of Pacquiao, they have yet to get a response from Duterte on their request for a meeting to discuss issues within the party.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. The views expressed are her own.

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