MANILA - PDP-Laban, the country's ruling but torn political party, will hold a national convention on September 8, its secretary general said Wednesday.
Secretary General Melvin Matibag said they have concluded a national executive committee meeting wherein Sen. Christopher “Bong" Go emerged among the frontrunners for PDP-Laban's presidential bets, while President Rodrigo Duterte led the top picks for the party's vice-presidential candidate.
Matibag however said they have yet to finalize the PDP-Laban lineup of presidential and vice-presidential candidates for Halalan 2022.
The announcement came amid an ongoing rift between Senator Manny Pacquiao and two top officials of PDP-Laban, namely Duterte and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.
Pacquiao was supposedly ousted as acting president of PDP-Laban following the election of Cusi, the party's vice chair, during the ruling party's national assembly in Pampanga.
Duterte, the party's chairman, was present during the assembly and led the oath-taking of new officers.
Before that, three officials, including Cusi and Matibag, were supposedly expelled from PDP-Laban for violating party rules.
Sen. Koko Pimentel, an ally of Pacquiao, said they were supporting an "outsider" of PDP-Laban for the presidency.
But Matibag rejected this accusation.
"The Pacquiao faction was apparently referring to presidential daughter and incumbent Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, leader of the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, who has expressed openness to the idea of running for president in the 2022 polls.
President Duterte has dissuaded her daughter from seeking the presidency, saying he does not want her to experience the heavy burden attached to the position," he said.
The Pacquiao-Pimentel faction yet has to release a statement on the upcoming PDP-Laban convention in September.
The group earlier denounced the Cusi-led assembly in Clark, Pampanga, saying it does not recognize the "purported" assembly at Royce Hotel and Casino, which staged the election of new party officials.