Duterte PDP-Laban wing to bare 2022 poll bets in Sept. 8 convention

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 07 2021 12:40 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte discusses matters with Sen. Christopher
President Rodrigo Duterte discusses matters with Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go during a meeting at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on Sept. 2, 2021. Arman Baylon, presidential Photo

MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte is set to lead the Sept. 8 convention of a faction of his political party where it is expected to reveal candidates for the 2022 elections, party leadership said on Tuesday. 

The PDP-Laban wing led by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier nominated Duterte for vice president and his former aide Sen. Christopher "Bong" Go as its standard-bearer. 

Asked if the President and Go would attend the convention, Cusi said in a virtual press conference: "They are main characters in this event and we expect them to be there." 

"We are expecting, of course, the arrival of the President to preside over the meeting," added Melvin Matibag, acting secretary-general of the PDP-Laban Cusi wing. 

New members, including 4 governors, will take their oath, Matibag told reporters. 

Initially planned to be held in Bulacan, the convention was moved to San Fernando, Pampanga due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cusi said. 

Some 400 people will attend the convention in person, while others will participate online, he said. 

The Philippines is battling a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease. The health department on Monday confirmed 22,415 new infections, the highest ever single-day tally. 

Asked why the PDP-Laban wing would gather its members despite the pandemic, Cusi said: "It is not a show of force... It is a process that we need to comply [with]."

"The people, especially the local leaders, would like to see the national leaders, not just in video," he added. 

Those attending the convention should be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have a negative test result 48 hours before the event. They will be tested again for the novel coronavirus at the venue, said Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya. 

"The event tomorrow will not be a super spreader event," he said. 

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A PDP-Laban faction led by Sen. Manny Pacquiao last month tried to oust Duterte from his role as party chairman. The faction supported by Duterte also booted out Pacquiao as party president, but the latter has refused to step down. 

Pacquiao, Duterte, and their respective supporters have been trying to wrest control over the PDP-Laban party ahead of elections in May by unilaterally electing their own members to leading party roles.

The 2 men had a falling-out in June after Pacquiao criticized Duterte's stance on the South China Sea territorial dispute with China, while the latter lashed back by lambasting the boxer's "shallow" foreign policy

The head of the election commission was cited recently as saying it would have to decide based on documents and the party's constitution which faction is the legitimate representative of PDP-Laban.

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