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President to attend meeting called by party vice chairman

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte will attend a meeting of his political party this week, his spokesman said, amid infighting between two major factions.

The President would attend the meeting called by Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) Vice Chairman Alfonso G. Cusi, his Energy secretary, in Pampanga on July 17, presidential spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. told a televised news briefing on Monday.

Mr. Roque, a nonmember, said Mr. Duterte recognizes the leadership of Mr. Cusi.

The row within the dominant political party intensified after the faction led by Mr. Cusi held a party meeting in May that party President and Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao rejected.

The group of PDP Laban officials led by Mr. Pacquiao on Friday expelled Mr. Cusi and other top officials for “showing allegiance to a political party apart from PDP Laban.”

The camp of Mr. Pacquiao accused Mr. Cusi of betraying party laws by backing the potential presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, who does not belong to the party. Mr. Cusi had also asked Mr. Duterte to run for vice president.

Mr. Cusi has said the party would back either Ms. Carpio or the President’s long-time aide, Senator Christopher Lawrence T. Go, for president.

Mr. Pacquiao, Mr. Go and Ms. Carpio all come from Mindanao.

Mr. Pacquiao earlier said government corruption was rampant, accusing several members of the President’s Cabinet of graft. The senator had also criticized Mr. Duterte’s stance on the country’s sea dispute with China. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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