Duterte won’t meddle in PDP-Laban dispute
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - March 2, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  President Duterte is leaving it to the leaders of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to resolve their internal issues after some party members criticized the recent actions of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. 

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said while Duterte is the chairman of PDP-Laban, the day-to-day management of the party has been delegated among Alvarez, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.  

“So the question is: Does the President know about these gripes? Well, the President defers to the leadership, I’m sure this will be threshed out in due course,” Roque said in a press briefing  yesterday.  

“But the President has full trust and confidence in Senate President Pimentel, Speaker Alvarez and Secretary Cusi,” he added. 

Last Wednesday, a group of PDP-Laban members organized an event in Quezon City to assail Alvarez for allegedly accepting new applicants who did not undergo a seminar. 

The group, led by PDP-Laban national council chair Rogelio Garcia, also claimed that old party members were not invited to the PDP-Laban 36th anniversary in Makati. 

But Ron Munsayac, head of the PDP-Laban’s public information committee, has clarified that the event was not sanctioned by the ruling party.

Munsayac has also revealed that Garcia’s membership had been suspended while Cesar Cuntapay, one of the event organizers, had been expelled from the party. 

Despite confusion among some of its members regarding the recruitment process, more government officials have joined the ruling PDP-Laban like the recent mass oathtaking of about 6,000 local leaders in Surigao del Norte. 

Speaker Alvarez administered the ceremonies held at the Surigao provincial gym in Surigao City during a rally to support the ruling party’s call for a federal government. 

Surigao del Norte Rep. Jose Francisco Matugas, who also took his oath as Surigao del Norte PDP-Laban president during the event, noted that almost 90 percent of the elected public officials from the province’s 20 municipalities have joined the party. 

“Through the event, we rallied the people of Surigao del Norte to support Federalism and the PDP-Laban party as a whole, thereby supporting the Speaker and the President in their programs and legislative agenda ultimately,” he said.

Also present during the mass oath taking were lawmakers who were listed in the PDP-Laban’s senatorial slate for the mid-term elections, among them Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Davao Rep. Karlo Nograles and Maguindanao Rep. Sajid Mangudadatu.

Matugas said local officials who attended the event not only took their oath as new members but also pledged their support for the party’s call for federalism, since under this form of government provinces will be empowered to decide on what is best for them. 

Before taking their oath, the local officials underwent a daylong membership orientation. – Delon Porcalla

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