MANILA (AdChoiceTV News) — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi “to organize, convene, and preside” over the national assembly of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on May 31, Malacañang said on Sunday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after Senator Manny Pacquiao, president of the PDP-Laban party, discouraged members from participating in the national assembly being called by Cusi.
“Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as Vice Chairman of the ruling party PDP-Laban was directed by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who serves as Chairman, to organize, convene and preside over the council meeting,” Roque said.
Echoing Cusi, Roque said the national assembly is meant to assess the party’s support for the programs of Duterte, who is also the party chairperson.
“This move, which is part of the democratic exercise, aims to consult party members and have fruitful and productive exchanges on issues affecting PDP-Laban,” he added.
Pacquiao earlier told his party mates to snub Cusi’s call for a national assembly.
In a May 25 memorandum, Pacquiao told PDP-Laban members that they are “strongly advised to ignore” Cusi’s invitation as it is not sanctioned by national party officers.
He said a call for a national assembly or meeting is subject to his and Duterte’s approval.
“Any call for a national council, assembly or meeting must be approved by both the chairman and president only,” Pacquiao said.
In a statement on Friday, Cusi said the ruling party would like to examine what they have accomplished and what needs to be done.
“The composition of the PDP-Laban National Council shows that it is a body where fruitful and effective exchanges can be made. This is particularly important in the light of our collective effort in response to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
He reiterated that the national assembly is part and parcel of the democratic process that every major political party should embrace despite the fact that a minority of PDP-Laban party mates are trying to discourage the participation of other members.