MANILA (2ND UPDATE)— The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP-Laban) national council on Monday voted to come up with a resolution urging its chairman, President Rodrigo Duterte, to run for vice president next year.
The resolution will also endorse Duterte, 76, to choose a running-mate for the 2022 race.
Duterte is not eligible for re-election as President.
He has repeatedly denied that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio would run in the 2022 presidential race. However, he "leaves to God" whether or not he would run for vice president, at least 2 of his aides said last week.
"If the President thinks it is God's will, he will make the proper announcement in due course," Roque said in a press briefing.
Monday's PDP-Laban meeting held in Cebu had been the subject of disagreement between party president Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao and its vice chair Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Pacquiao had urged PDP-Laban to snub Cusi's call for a meeting. But Duterte's spokesman Harry Roque on Sunday revealed it was Duterte who instructed Cusi to lead the meeting.
On Sunday, Ron Munsayac, PDP-Laban executive director, said they "have not received any formal communication from the Chairman/President Duterte" regarding the meeting.
Duterte skipped the meeting because his schedule was full, said Roque. The President will meet on Monday with the task force leading the country's COVID-19 response, and announce quarantine levels for June.
Munsayac said Pacquiao will request for a meeting with Duterte "so the two party leaders can discuss and set the agenda for the legitimate national council meeting to be set a month before the filing of candidacies, or earlier if the Chairman wishes."
"So unfortunate that in the midst of the pandemic, politics is capturing the centerstage," he said.
"All our God-given energies should be directed to ensure that the country can still be great even after this crisis."
At the party's meeting, those physically present started signing the resolution, while those present via Zoom also manifested support for it.
The resolution is expected to be tackled in the next PDP-Laban council meeting in Luzon on July 16, and the subsequent national assembly set on July 17.
In the meeting, the party insisted the presence of a quorum with at least 107 out of 159 national council members present. Only 63 members are needed to constitute a quorum.
This trumped Negros Oriental Rep. Arnie Teves’ point of order after he argued the meeting should be adjourned since notices were not sent by him as party secretary-general, consistent with party rules.
Teves was overruled by the body, which maintained there is no formal appointment document for his designation as secretary-general.
The party even moved and voted to install deputy secretary-general Melvin Matibag as interim secretary-general pending a national assembly election.
Pacquiao earlier this May criticized Duterte's stance on China's incursions in the West Philippine Sea as "lacking."
In March, the boxing icon-turned-senator chided PDP-Laban members who urged Duterte to run as vice president in the 2022 elections, following suggestions that his daughter should gun for the presidency.
Duterte-Carpio topped a recent survey on most preferred presidential candidates, while Pacquiao trailed at fourth place.
Meanwhile, opposition coalition 1Sambayan said Duterte's alleged run for vice president in 2022 "not only makes a mockery of the Constitution but a joke of the worse kind."
"It is laughable and the height of impertinence to the Filipino people," 1Sambayan convenor Howard Calleja said in a statement.
"I am sure the Filipino people would see this as a macrocosm of the Davao formula and reject it as nothing more than one's self-interest to maintain Duterte's authoritarian brand of failed leadership and traitorous allegiance to China," he said.
– With reports from Ina Reformina and Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News