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Party chair Duterte skipped PDP-Laban assembly due to full schedule —Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday skipped the meeting of the ruling PDP-Laban party in Cebu because of a full schedule, according to Malacañang.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that while the President chairs PDP-Laban, he has matters to attend to, including government policy on COVID-19 pandemic.

“While he is the chairman of the party, hindi naman puwede diktahan ni Presidente ang partido [the President cannot dictate on the party],” Roque said in a press briefing.

“He (President) signed a memo authorizing Secretary [Alfonso] Cusi to call the meeting today and he made me announce it yesterday. He has a full schedule in the Palace this afternoon. He is fully booked,” Roque added.

Roque’s announcment on PDP-Laban matters was prompted by the camp of PDP-Laban President and Senator Manny Pacquiao calling on party-members to ignore Cusi’s call for a party meeting. 

Roque said Duterte will meet with Cebu governor Gwen Garcia on Monday afternoon over Garcia’s decision to deviate the province’s policy of testing returning overseas Filipinos upon arrival in Cebu, compared with the national government’s policy of testing them on the seventh day of quarantine since virus takes time to be detected.

This will then be followed with a meeting with the Inter-Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, which is the government's policy-making body in its COVID-19 response. The meeting will be concluded with the announcement of quarantine classificatiosns for June.

“It is already May 31 so there will be an announcement of quarantine classfications for June,” Roque said.

Roque said the PDP-Laban meeting is expected to discuss the accomplishments of the Duterte administration. "There will be a report on the gains of the President," he said. —KBK, GMA News