President Rodrigo Duterte is confident of patching differences among Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) members after he called for a party caucus late yesterday at the Diamond Hotel in Manila, Malacañang said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Mr. Duterte wanted to unify the party and he wanted to clarify that he remains chairman of the party and he will be there.
Duterte spoke to the “entire” PDP but refused to comment if there were indeed factions in the ruling party.
“As far as the President is concerned, he is chair of PDP and there is only one PDP,” Roque said.
A faction of the PDP that claimed to be the party’s genuine representatives held an assembly and elected new party leaders ousting Pimentel as party president and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary-general.
No faction for Rody
Roque said despite the incident, he is not sure about factions within the party.
“I do not know if in (Mr. Duterte’s) mind there are factions,” Roque said.
“I have raised my apprehension here but they have their own spokesperson. So I would defer to the official spokesperson of PDP,” Roque said.
“I will go with the President but as far as what will actually happen, I feel that I’m not in a position to speak,” he added.
“PDP matters are strictly speaking outside the affairs of Malacañang and the functions of the President. And they have their own spokesperson, that’s my concern,” he added.
Solid behind Fed
Duterte remains committed to pushing a shift to a federal government despite the concerns raised by his economic managers, Roque said.
“The first message that I got from the President is that he still stands for Federalism. He asked me to tell everybody that he is committed to advance Federalism,” Roque said on radio.
He later told reporters that the Cabinet supports Federalism but the “exact mechanics of how to do it [may not be implemented in unison], no one can claim a monopoly.”
Roque issued the remark after Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said he would “absolutely” vote against the draft federal charter prepared by the Consultative Committee because it allegedly did not address issues such as who is going to pay for the national debt.
Last month, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia expressed concern that implementing federalism could wreck the country’s fiscal health and spell disaster for regions ill-prepared for the shift from the unitary type of government.