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No right to complain: Roque told to be grateful for inclusion in PDP Senate slate

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque should be grateful that he was included in the final shortlist of potential senatorial bets of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) for the upcoming 2019 polls even though he’s not yet a full-fledged member the administration party.

A reliable source disclosed to Politiko that Roque has no right to complain after the ruling party just labeled him as a “friend” of the ruling administration party while his other fellow cabinet members who were also in the list were addressed as “party mates” since the Presidential Spokesperson is not yet a full-fledged member of PDP Laban.

The source revealed that although Roque has already taken his oath as PDP Laban member, he has yet to take the party’s basic membership seminar (BMS) which is a major requirement before being accepted completely in the ruling party.

According to the constitution of PDP Laban, an aspiring applicant must first undergo BMS before finally taking his oath of membership. But the leadership of the ruling party decided to relax its rules in 2016 due to volume of applicants who wanted to joint the political party of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The party leadership has allowed the conduct of mass oath takings, but those inducted members are still required to take their respective BMS on a later date.

Roque took his oath in November 2017 before then House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the administration party’s secretary-general during a mass oath taking event in Cebu City but has failed to take his BMS until now.

In a radio interview last Friday (August 17), Roque expressed dismayed that he was only labeled as PDP-Laban’s “friend” in the letter written by party president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III to Duterte, the ruling party’s chairman on the administration’s possible senatorial bets for 2019.

Roque complained why he was left out while fellow cabinet members, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go were considered as PDP-Laban members in Pimentel’s letter.

The Presidential Spokesperson said it’s a good thing he took oath as a member of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) because he just found out he’s not part of PDP-Laban’s roster.

On Friday, President Duterte made it clear he will remain a PDP-Laban member at HNP’s convention in Davao City amid earlier rumors that he will jump ship to his daughter’s party.