Duterte: PDDS, PDP-Laban are one

Alexis Romero - The Philippine Star
Duterte: PDDS, PDP-Laban are one
In this file photo, President Duterte holds a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Matina Enclaves in Davao City.
The STAR / File photo

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has described as a “political strategy” his decision to run for senator under the Pederalismo ng Dugong Dakilang Samahan (PDDS) as he assured his allies in PDP-Laban that he remains a member of their party.

Speaking during a gathering of local leaders in Calapan City last Friday, Duterte said that under the PDP-Laban’s constitution the party can enter into alliances with other political parties to strengthen its chances of achieving victory in the elections.

He vowed to campaign for the candidates of the party at the national and local levels.

“I assure the members of the PDP Laban and PDDS are one. We campaign as one and we will work as one,” the President said.

Duterte noted that the PDP-Laban is facing a leadership row between his allies and that of Sen. Koko Pimentel. He said his group would be “left hanging” if it loses in the dispute, which he claimed stemmed from Pimentel’s decision to support the presidential bid of Sen. Manny Pacquiao without consulting the party’s members.

“In the meantime, our strategy is if we lose, at least we would have a legal standing because we are also in alliance with a political party which is recognized by the Comelec (Commission on Elections),” Duterte said.

“For those (asking) why we used the CONA (certificate of nomination and acceptance) of our allied political party, PDDS, it can be summed up in two words, political strategy... The decision to use the CONA of PDDS is a strategic decision, which in due time will unfold on its own,” he added.

Duterte is chairman of the PDP-Laban faction of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, who supports the presidential bid of the President’s former aide Sen. Bong Go. Both Go and Duterte are running under PDDS. The Pimentel-led faction, meanwhile, backs the candidacy of Pacquiao, a former ally of the Duterte administration. The Comelec has yet to resolve the leadership row in the ruling party.

“I am a PDP member. I remain a PDP Laban member. I will not abandon the party, whose members helped me in my program of governance. I appreciate the loyalty and support of my partymates and will not waver in my commitment to them. I will continue to serve and be of service to PDP-Laban in my capacity as chairman and as member of the council of elders,” he added.

Duterte, who announced last month that he was retiring from politics, said he has his reason for seeking a Senate seat.

“Even if I ranked 12th in the Senate race, I’m okay with that...  I have no illusions... I have become a president, I have reached the top post. But there is a personal reason why (I am running for senator)... It’s not because I really want to stay in government,” he said in Filipino.

Last week, Duterte said his decision to run for senator has something to do with the Senate’s hearings on the government’s allegedly overpriced procurement of medical supplies during the pandemic. He claimed that officials were disrespected during the hearings on the purchases, which he insisted were free of corruption and were not overpriced.

“That’s why I am running. I will tell them, you know there are rules in the Congress, but there are fundamental laws,” Duterte said during the launching of government projects in Mindoro last Thursday.

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