PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte gathered the leaders of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to unite the two competing factions of the ruling party, his top aide said on Friday.
Duterte, who is chairman of the PDP-Laban, met with the group of Sen. Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, party president, and that of lawyer Rogelio Garcia, the President’s classmate, at the Diamond Hotel in Manila on Thursday night.
In a statement, Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said Duterte asked his partymates to thresh out their differences by talking to each other and to think of the country in their decisions.
He noted that “since PDP- Laban was the party that catapulted Duterte to the presidency, fixing the internal squabble is very important to him.”
“Tulad ng isang ama na pilit pinagbabati ang mga anak na may hindi pagkakaintindihan, namagitan si Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa mga miyembro ng PDP-Laban upang magkaisa ang lahat para sa kabutihan ng partido (Like a father trying to settle the issues between children, Duterte intervened in the factions in PDP-Laban to unite them for the good of the party),” Go said.
“Hinimok nya ang mga liders ng magkabilang grupo na unahin ang kapakanan ng bayan sa lahat ng kanilang magiging desisyon (He urged leaders of both groups to think of the country’s welfare in their decisions),” he said.
Go said Duterte even encouraged his party mates to raise their grievances in the plenary.
“The caucus ended with a commitment from both sides to work things out,” the President’s top aide said.
“Another meeting will be held in a later date with hopes of having a stronger and united PDP-Laban party,” he added.
Duterte first met with the two groups separately before addressing them together.
The meeting came two weeks after a faction of the PDP-Laban led by Garcia held an assembly and elected a new set of officials supposedly to replace Pimentel as party president and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary general.
But Pimentel dismissed the actions of the group whose members, he said, have been expelled from PDP-Laban.
The senator maintained that the officers of the PDP-Laban are as follows: Duterte as chairman; vice chairman, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi; himself as president; and secretary general, Alvarez.