Arroyo as PDP-Laban council chair? Pimentel tells other faction to form own party

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 10) — Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel opposes the idea of electing former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as National Council Chairperson of the ruling PDP-Laban Party.

Pimentel slammed this proposal from Rogelio Garcia, leader of a faction of PDP-Laban that claims to have replaced Pimentel as party president.

"Magbuo na lang sila ng sarili nilang party (They should just create their own party)," Pimentel told reporters Friday.

"Bakit kasi pilitin ang sarili na mag-power grab sa partidong pinaghirapan ng iba? Magbuo kayo ng sarili niyong party at magbanat kayo ng buto, maghirap kayo from scratch then that's your party," he added.

Translation: "Why are they forcing themselves to grab power from a party that was established by others? Form you own party, work hard from scratch then it's your party."

Pimentel said he is sure Arroyo has nothing to do with the other group's call for a higher post for her, saying she's too busy leading the House of Representatives. Arroyo unseated partymate Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker after more than 200 lawmakers voted for a change in leadership on July 23, the same day the Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address.

Dispute continues to grow at the ruling party despite the President's efforts to unite the two factions. Duterte as party chairman met with both groups Thursday evening, and scheduled another one for September 1.

Pimentel said the "real" PDP-Laban does not mind losing some numbers if members decide to jump ship to another party supportive of the President. This is amid talks other members want to be with the Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio's regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).

The HNP on Friday offered to help PDP-Laban resolve its "internal problem."

"If there is anything that HNP can do to help PDP Laban, our group is ready to assist them," HNP said in statement, adding that it is willing to help any political party supportive of the Duterte administration.

"HNP finds it truly unfortunate that PDP Laban is embroiled in internal problem and hopes that competing party members resolve their differences," it added.

It reiterated it is not recruiting members of national parties since it is a regional group composed of members who hail from Davao.

CNN Philippines' Triciah Terada and Eimor Santos contributed to this report.