The membership of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan will soon be reduced drastically amid confusion over leadership following the separation of many members from party leaders, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez who they expelled from the party, a House official said on Saturday.
“With this development, PDP-Laban may be marginalized on the face of the political landscape. Or, if not, its membership will tremendously dwindle,” House acting majority leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro told a news forum at the University of the Philippines Hotel in Quezon City.
Castro made the statement after regional and city officials of the PDP-Laban elected a new set of leaders in what they called a ‘national assembly,’ and expelled Pimentel and Alvarez, who were both ousted in their leadership positions in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
But these PDP-Laban officials retained President Rodrigo Duterte as the party chairman and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Go as party auditor.
Castro said the current unrest in the ruling party might prompt the PDP-Laban members to rejoin their former parties or join the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago of Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio.
“It's either they will rejoin their former political parties or they will join the Hugpong ng Pagbabago ng Mayor Sara Duterte,” said Castro.
He added the HNP might soon emerge as the dominant political party amid reports that PDP-Laban members in the House of Representatives were planning to shift to Duterte-Carpio’s regional party.
“Considering the development in PDP, there is nothing that will prevent the Hugpong ng Pagbabago to amend their (sic) constitution and by-laws and make it as national party,” Castro said.
Meanwhile, Castro said the Arroyo-led House would have new leaders next week.
Castro said the committees that would likely be affected by the revamp included the House committees on rules, accounts, and justice.
Castro did not name names but a House source said the position of majority leader was a tug of war between Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr. and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Velasco was earlier groomed to be the Speaker.
As of last week, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas said he was still the majority leader and the chairman of the House conmittee on rules.
While the House accounts committee will likely be given to Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay Jr. to replace Batangas Rep. Elenita Ermita-Buhain, and the justice committee, currently chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, is reportedly given to Leyte Rep. Vicente Veloso, vice chairman of the House committee on justice.
Castro could not tell yet if the chairmanships and memberships of the 72 regular and special committees “will be replaced.”
“What I further understand is that the new chairmen must enjoy the trust and confidence of the Speaker,” Castro told a news forum.
Castro said the House appropriations committee, chaired by Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, would stay in his post.