By CRIS DIAZ
The gathering of the Original Supporters of Pres. Rodrigo R. Duterte (OSPRRD)in Cagayan De Oro City last Sunday was a clear indication that the President is forming his own political party.
This means that Duterte might finally severed ties with the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Laban (PDP-Laban). We could sense that Duterte wants to clear his political party of any traces of the Liberal Party (LP). It is of public knowledge that the PDP-Laban has been prostituted with LP supporters who owe a debt of political gratitude to the Cory Aquino government.
Matter of fact, the PDP-Laban’s political origin could be traced back to the anti-Marcos movement in the 80s. Former Senator Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. was among the founders of the PDP-Laban. He could personally attest to the fact that the PDP-Laban was formed to support the anti-Marcos movement and support Cory’s Aquino presidential bid.
However, with the emergence of the Liberal Party (LP) and the Nacionalista Party (NP), the PDP-Laban has lost political significance. The PDP-Laban, of the Pimentel group, was only resurrected when Duterte ran and won the presidency in 2016 under the PDP-Laban political party. With the President belonging to the PDP-Laban, it takes just a matter of months before the political balance tilted in favor of the PDP-Laban – both in the Lower and Upper House in Congress.
Winning the majority seat in both houses in Congress, the election of Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel, Jr., incumbent head of the PDP-Laban, as the Senate President became a done deal. The election of Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez, PDP-Laban, as Speaker of the House, was not also surprising. On the contrary, it is Duterte himself, who is not happy with the development in both houses in Congress.
With the development in Congress, it becomes understandable that those who came from other political parties who decided to join the PDP-Laban where, actually, joining for “political convenience.”
Political convenience connotes a number of meanings. Some joined the PDP-Laban in order to be given favorable treatment of the incumbent administration, particularly the funding and in the release of funds for various projects in a given congressional district. Others joined to simply hop into the political bandwagon – ready to jump out once a strong political party emerges from nowhere. In the Philippine politics, the changing of political parties is like changing clothes.
However, the most glaring practice in Philippine politics is for a corrupt politician to join the ruling political party in order to be exonerated of various graft cases. Instead of stamping out graft and corruption in the government, the induction of corrupt politicians in the ruling political party, actually contributes in the proliferation of corruption in the government.
While Duterte wants to fulfill his promise to eradicate graft and corruption during his tenure as Philippine president, he could not do it in an atmosphere where he has no control. Although the PDP-Laban is in control of Congress, Duterte believes that he is powerless in the fight against corruption in his own backyard. As the Philippine President, Duterte should be the head of the ruling PDP-Laban. In the current political scenario, Duterte is not the PDP-Laban honcho.
Duterte, therefore, believes that he has to create and run his own political party. As a popular Philippine President, Duterte could it. Perhaps, the message is clear: The regrouping of the OSPRRD signals the creation of Duterte’s national political party where he is the head and the founding President. Duterte, however, knows that severing from the PDP-Laban remains premature.
To recall, the CYNOSURE wrote a piece last month about the alleged “internal” squabble in the PDP-Laban. That some top officials of the PDP-Laban have reportedly recruited and inducted new members without the imprimatur of the Senate Pres. Koko Pimentel, the PDP-Laban President. Although the newly inducted members still belong to the PDP-Laban, Pimentel has reportedly cast doubt on the motive of the recruitment. A little bird even informed the CYNOSURE that the PDP-Laban might oust Rep. Alvarez from the PDP-Laban political party. Let us have more of this in the future.
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