Philippines: Duterte fails to unite warring PDP-Laban factions

  • Following a five-hour meeting between President Duterte and members of the fragmented Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on 9 Aug 18 evening, the two factions – led by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III and lawyer Rogelio Garcia – have yet to reconcile their differences.
  • Duterte mediated between the warring factions, urging them to unite or go their separate ways, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said on 10 Aug 18, adding this would be critical to the party’s position in 2019’s midterm elections
  • Roque, who was present during the meeting, said in a radio interview on 10 Aug 18 another caucus is planned in a bid to work on maintaining the bond among party leaders and members.
  • But Roque said the President is of the position that if there is no way to unite, the two groups may have to part ways. It was not clear whose faction would remain with the party.
  • Garcia was elected party president when his group held a national assembly on 27 Jul 18 at the Amoranto Amphitheater in Quezon City. But Pimentel and Alvarez maintained that they are the legitimate officers of PDP-Laban, adding that they had previously warned the public against individuals who claimed to be officers of the party. Pimentel is PDP-Laban president and Alvarez is the party’s secretary-general, according to their group.
  • Pimentel pointed out that the Amoranto assembly was not sanctioned by PDP-Laban. He warned that those who participated in the gathering would face sanctions, including expulsion. Duterte is PDP-Laban national chairman.
  • Pimentel said he is willing to give up his position as president of PDP-Laban but not to Garcia and his group, who he said were jumping on the bandwagon.
  • A long-time member of PDP-Laban and a classmate of the President in law school, Garcia complained that Pimentel and his group have been belittling and ignoring him and his group.

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