The ruling PDP-Laban can back Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s possible presidential bid in May 2022 elections even if she is not a member of the party, a senior Palace official said Monday.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, a member of PDP-Laban, said politicians are “naturally” inclined to support Duterte-Carpio’s political plans since she is the eldest daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, who chairs the ruling party.
“She is a Duterte. She is the daughter of the President. There will always be that natural inclination to support Mayor Sara in whatever decision she makes,” he told ANC in an interview.
Nograles added that PDP-Laban can support a politician who is not a party member.
Duterte-Carpio previously said that she would not leave her own regional groups Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Davao Region and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod in Davao City amid speculations that she would seek the presidency with her father as her running-mate.
“It is not unusual for parties to support someone from a different party. If that will be the decision of the party, for instance, to support Mayor Inday Sara, even if she is not a member of PDP-Laban, the party can adopt or support her,” Nograles said.
“You do not have to be a member of PDP-Laban for PDP-Laban to support you. If the entire party says we will support Inday Sara for President, she is not required to join the party,” he added.
Nograles said it is up to the President as national chairperson to recommend who should be the party’s presidential bet in the 2022 elections.
The Palace official also refused to say if PDP-Laban is pushing for a Duterte-Duterte tandem.
Duterte-Carpio has yet to signify her intention to run for a higher post, but she previously doused speculations that there would be a Duterte-Duterte tandem in the next elections.
“Everything is still up in the air. The bottom line of our party is that we support President Duterte. We are trying to convince him to run for vice president and we give him the discretion to recommend who he thinks should run for President,” Nograles said.
He was among the 150 PDP-Laban national council members who attended the 31 May meeting in Cebu, which was described by the party’s acting president Senator Manny Pacquiao as “unsanctioned”.
The council members adopted a resolution urging Duterte to run for vice president in the 2022 elections, a call which was “resisted” by the President.
Meanwhile, Nograles said ousting Pacquiao as PDP-Laban acting president is not part of the agenda for the party’s national assembly on 17 July, expected to be attended by its 100,000 members.
Pacquaio, rumored to be gunning for presidency, publicly assailed those who attended the PDP-Laban council meeting last month. He is seeking a meeting with President Duterte over what he claims was an invalid assembly.
“We are still discussing what would be included in the agenda in the National Council meeting on 16 July and the National Assembly on 17 July. Right now, there is no indication what would be included in our agenda for both,” he said.
Nograles, however, said not all incumbent PDP-Laban officials are sitting in full-time capacity, and that such occupancy must be ratified by the party for an official to become full-time.
“We have officials in PDP-Laban who are in the acting or interim capacity, but that is only interim until we have a national council or national assembly. Yes, there will be voting because there are still acting officials,” he said.
PDP-Laban acting secretary-general Melvin Matibag issued a memorandum on 8 June which stated that all party members who are “in good standing are welcome to attend” the meeting scheduled next month. The venue would be subject to quarantine restrictions imposed by the pandemic task force.
The agenda for the national assembly, Matibag added, would be determined in a meeting among members of the national council on 16 July.