Something weird or unexpected happened at the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban). On Monday, May 31, in its national council meeting held in Cebu City, called by Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, PDP-Laban vice chairman, the party passed a resolution to convince President Duterte to seek the vice presidency in the 2022 elections after the end of his term.
In an unprecedented move, and first in our country’s political history, the resolution also empowered Mr. Duterte to choose his own presidential candidate, a reversal of our traditional way of picking our presidential and vice presidential candidates.
Other key party leaders, led by party acting president Senator Manny Pacquiao, have questioned the legitimacy of the meeting.
Pacquiao, who is rumored to be running for the presidency in 2022, did not attend. He, in fact, issued a circular on May 25, strongly advising members not to heed Cusi’s invitation, saying “this is not the time for politics.”
But obviously, the Cebu meeting had the President’s blessing. In his message read in the meeting, the President urged his party- mates “to stand together and remain united, not by personal interest but by our principles and values as we chart the future of our party and the rest of the nation.”
As expected, some intriguing questions arose after the PDP-Laban meeting in Cebu City.
One is what will happen to Senator Pacquaio who has been bypassed in the decision to hold the meeting? Is he going to be sidelined for prematurely announcing his bid for the presidency?
But the most interesting question is: What will happen if Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio runs for president? Will she run with her father as her vice presidential bet, or inversely, will Mr. Duterte agree to be his daughter’s running mate?
As to the president’s political future, no one can predict what his plans are. But he has time and again said that he is tired of staying in Manila. Does this mean that he will seek to regain his old post as Davao City mayor if Inday Sara decides to run for president?
Meanwhile, the PDP-Laban is expected to hold its national assembly on July 17 to pick its party officers. Amidst the wrangling among its current leaders, it is difficult to foresee the future of the ruling party. Quo vadis, PDP-Laban?