President Rodrigo Duterte will preside over the PDP-Laban national assembly set on July 17 which the camp of Sen. Manny Pacquiao is asking their partymates to skip, a party official said Wednesday.
An election of officers is expected to take place at the meeting in Clark, Pampanga, which will come as party chairman Duterte and acting party president Pacquiao spar in public over the fighting lawmkers' criticism of government.
The PDP-Laban Deputy Secretary-General, Melvin Matibag, confirmed Duterte's attendance in an interview with reporters. Malacanang made a similar announcement.
The party is set to discuss their preparations for the upcoming elections during the national assembly, said Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, who is pushing for Duterte's candidacy for vice president.
"Para maisaayos yan, para magkaroon ng mandate e dapat humingi tayo ng mandato sa mga miyembro. I-subject natin ang sarili natin sa eleksyon. And that is what will happen in July 17," he said.
Pacquiao's camp and Sen. Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III have told their partymates to skip the July 17 meeting, calling it an unauthorized event. Pimentel instead called on PDP-Laban members to attend another national assembly they have set for September.
Cusi said Pacquiao's camp should attend the July 17 meeting, since it will be their opportunity to sort out the issues within the party. The senator is in the U.S. to prepare for his match with Errol Spence Jr.
Both Cusi and Matibag were expelled from the party through a resolution issued by Pacquiao over alleged disloyalty, but they do not recognize it.