In a meeting that lasted five hours on Thursday night, Duterte called for a party caucus to unify the party’s warring factions, but the meeting with the President apparently did not resolve the issues between them.“The President told them to talk among themselves and meet again in September. If they really can’t resolve their differences then it’s better to part ways,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque told dzRH radio on Friday.“For now, [the President] said all the people in the party should talk,” Roque added.Even the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, offered the help of her regional party Hugpong sa Pagbabago to patch up the ruling party, even as the group said it had no plans to go national.“HNP respects the history, experience, and the wisdom of the PDP Laban Party,” Sara’s party said in a statement. “HNP finds it truly unfortunate that PDP Laban is embroiled in internal problem and hopes that competing party members resolve their differences. If there is anything that HNP can do to help PDP Laban, our group is ready to assist them,” it added.The President’s directive “means we have to unite,” PDP-Laban president Koko Pimentel told reporters on Thursday.“If there is an issue, publicly rebelling is not the way to do it. If there’s a problem, let us talk.”But Pimentel criticized the elected president of what he called “rogue” members of their party for “harvesting the fruits of their hard work”.He insisted he had no plan to cling to his position, but he questioned lawyer Rogelio Garcia, the head of the PDP-Laban faction, of “reaping” what they had planted.
Garcia on Friday said they already had a post being considered for Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.He told News To Go there was a proposal to nominate Arroyo as national council chairman of the ruling party.“That’s entirely different from the position of national chairman,” Garcia said.The infighting within the PDP-Laban intensified after the group led by Garcia elected its own set of officers during a national assembly on July 27.Garcia claimed that Pimentel violated the party’s by-laws, while Pimentel accused Garcia’s group of being composed of “expelled rogue members.”Shortly upon arriving at the Diamond Hotel before 7 pm, Duterte spoke separately with the leaders of both factions before calling all of them to a meeting.Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino described the meeting of the two groups as “cordial” and “without tension.”Pimentel said the party resolved to meet again on Sept. 1 to settle the issues between the two factions.“We were together in one room, but there will be another date, September 1, I think, when we will fix whatever needs to be fixed,” Pimentel said. But he said he would only be working with the legitimate members of the party.
Macon Ramos-Araneta and Jimbo Gulle
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