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Duterte to preside over PDP-Laban nat'l assembly on July 17 —party official

President Rodrigo Duterte will preside over PDP-Laban's national assembly organized by the group of Energy secretary and party vice chairman Alfonso Cusi on July 17, a party official said Wednesday.

“July 17, that is the national assembly. The national assembly will be presided by the president, the chairman of the party, President Rodrigo Duterte. There are personalities who will attend,” PDP-Laban deputy secretary general Atty. Melvin Matibag said in a virtual press conference.

Matibag said the event will be subjected to security protocols implemented by the Presidential Security Group (PSG).

“Kahapon po nag-run through na ho kami, may mga briefing na po kami ginawa. Please expect na maraming security protocols that will be imposed by the PSG,” he said.

(We already conducted a run through for the event. We also had briefings for the event. Please expect that there are security protocols that will be imposed by the PSG.)

Duterte met with his PDP-Laban partymates Tuesday last week at Malacañang, but Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, a party stalwart identified with the faction led by Senator Manny Pacquiao, was not present.

Members of PDP-Laban who were present during the Palace meeting were those who are pushing for Duterte to run for vice president under PDP-Laban, as well as pick the party’s presidential bet for the 2022 elections.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Duterte recognizes the leadership of Cusi despite being ousted by party members led by Pacquiao.

Pimentel and Pacquiao consistently said they won’t attend the assembly as they assert that it is an “unauthorized” gathering.

The Pacquiao-led group will hold an assembly in September.

Pacquiao is currently at odds with  Duterte after he claimed that corruption has worsened under the current administration.

Pacquiao first earned the ire of Duterte when he criticized the president's stance on the West Philippine Sea issue. —KBK, GMA News