Pimentel: There's 'nothing to resolve' with PDP-Laban faction

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  • Pimentel: PDP-Laban to 'move on' without faction
  • PDP-Laban senatoriables not committed yet
  • Pimentel: Mayor Sara's Hugpong ng Pagbabago is 'not a threat'
  • No talks for PDP-Laban, HNP to join forces

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 21) — Ruling party PDP-Laban said it has no plans of reconciling with a faction that declared its own leadership, indicating a failure — at least for now — of President Rodrigo Duterte's efforts to unite the two groups.

In an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on Tuesday, PDP-Laban President Koko Pimentel slammed what he previously called "a rogue assembly," led by its own supposed president Rogelio Garcia.

"The people surrounding him are even unknown to our national headquarters," said Pimentel. "There's nothing to resolve. Non-party members, people with hidden agenda, cannot just shortcut the processes of the party, hold a public event covered by media, and then hope for a compromise agreement and get something in return."

In July, the faction elected Garcia as its president in a public gathering at Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City causing confusion as to who really runs the ruling party.

Pimentel dismissed the event as a "shortcut to being a party member [and] leader." He maintained some of those present were not even registered members of the party.


Duterte met with the two factions on August 9 and another meeting is scheduled on September 1.

The President sought to reconcile them because "he personally knows Atty. Garcia," said Pimentel.

The senator said the President advised the factions to talk. "Since nothing has come out with the passage of time, we will have to go on," he said. "Why should we be derailed by some incident in Amoranto Stadium of some non-members?"

He maintained that when Duterte met with Pimentel's group privately, he acknowledged them as the legitimate leaders of the party.

No commitment from senatoriables

Pimentel also said that the personalities on the PDP-Laban senatorial line-up have not committed to the party just yet.

He also said the list was just meant to start an internal process that would still go all the way up to the President.

"We have not yet offered [the slots] to anybody, so this is just the result of internal survey within the party, suggestions from party leaders, as well as declaration by a party member — specifically Ka Freddie Aguilar — that he wants to run for the Senate," said Pimentel. "Who am I to disqualify this early? So I included everybody."


No talks with HNP

With the looming 2019 elections, in-fighting is not the only concern the ruling party faces.

Davao City Mayor and Presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio founded regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), which the President reportedly joined. However, Duterte has since clarified he was not jumping ship.

Nonetheless, Pimentel maintained there was no conflict because PDP-Laban was a national party, whereas HNP was regional.

"A senatorial candidate can be assisted or helped by more than one political party," said Pimentel.


HNP has already joined forces with the Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), and National Unity Party (NUP). It may also have a coalition with Lakas-CMD, the previous party of President-turned-House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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Following talk that other PDP-Laban members could jump ship to Lakas-CMD, House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro previously predicted that the ruling party could be "erased from the political landscape."

Duterte-Carpio is also in conflict with PDP-Laban Secretary General Pantaleon Alvarez. Congressmen told CNN Philippines she had a hand in his ouster as House Speaker.

But Pimentel is not worried about this row, or the growing social capital of HNP.

"That's a person," Pimentel said, referring to the enmity between Duterte-Carpio and Alvarez.

"I do not see why it is a threat. Hugpong is a regional party," he added.

The senator also said they were not in talks to join forces with HNP, but he did not shoot down the possibility.

"But I will have to be honest with you: there are no current or pending negotiations towards that effect," he said. "But given that it’s August... and [the filing is on] October, things can happen very fast."