The ruling PDP-Laban remains strong and united and will not be weakened by moves of some officials close to President Rodrigo Duterte to form a new political party, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday.
Senate PRIB/Alex Nuevaespaña, file
PDP-Laban still solid – Koko
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 4, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The ruling PDP-Laban remains strong and united and will not be weakened by moves of some officials close to President Duterte to form a new political party, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said yesterday.

Pimentel dismissed reports that the 30-year-old party founded by his father, former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., was on the verge of breaking up due to weak membership and clashes in ideology.

He said “there’s no issue” within the party, as the media reports apparently were
quoting unidentified individuals who were not members of PDP-Laban.

“How can non-party members do something inimical to the party when in the first place they don’t have any duty to be loyal to the party?” Pimentel told The STAR.

“They are non-party members. They can do whatever they want. Non-party members can join other political parties. They can even form one of their own. The loyalty to the party begins when one is accepted into the party,” he said.

The Senate President was referring to a news report that the PDP-Laban, which carried President Duterte to victory in the elections last May, was about to break up.

PDP-Laban, an old but relatively small party, was among those instrumental in convincing Duterte to run last year. But its ranks swelled when Duterte won by a landslide last May.

PDP-Laban now has over one hundred members in the House of Representatives led by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is its secretary-general. Sen. Manny Pacquiao is one of its members in the Senate. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II is also a party member.

Sources said the reported rift in the ruling party started when Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., a top political adviser of Duterte, launched the Kilusang Pagbabago grassroots movement last August. The movement can be turned into another political party and vanguard of the administration.

The same sources said the new movement would soon register as a political party and could undermine the current ruling PDP-Laban and put the party on the sidelines of the political landscape.

Evasco, a former priest turned New People’s Army rebel leader, was the campaign manager and later chief of staff of then Davao City mayor Duterte. Evasco was also former mayor of Maribojoc, Bohol.

In the first executive order he issued as president, Duterte placed 12 agencies under Evasco.

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