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PSG bars Garcia-led PDP faction from assembly despite name-dropping Bong Go

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Contrary to an earlier statement, members of the breakaway faction of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party reportedly did attend the leadership assembly last Friday (August 31) but were barred by the Presidential Security Group (PSG) from entering the venue.

According to Ronwald Munsayac, chairman of the ruling party’s public information committee, the group of Atty. Rogelio “Bicbic” Garcia was indeed in the premises of the GSIS Compound in Pasay City, the venue of the party assembly, hours before the arrival of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The PSG however blocked the Garcia-led group from entering the GSIS gymnasium after refusing to register their names at the reception booth.

Munsayac said the PSG required all those who attended to sign in the log sheet provided by the organizers which will also serve as their proof of attendance.

When the group of Garcia arrived at the GSIS compound, they immediately went to the gymnasium where the assembly was taking place but later found out that they must register before being allowed entry.

The group of Garcia, according to Munsayac, appealed to the PSG members to let them pass without logging their names. The PSG ground commander later approached Garcia’s group and urged them to register their respective names, or else they will be not allowed to join the assembly.

“Nandun na sila sa area sa reception ng event… nung gusto na nilang pumasok, may tatlong layers ang PSG dun. Ayaw silang papasukin ng PSG unless mag-register sila. Kasi yung instructions ng group commander nila eh. Ayaw nila mag-register,” said Munsayac.

Garcia’s group also reportedly even dropped the name of Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go to try to gain entry to the venue. Munsayac said they claimed they were authorized by Go to attend the event even without registering their names.

But the PSG stood firmly behind the registration rule for the event attended by President Duterte. Garcia and his peers eventually decided to skip the party assembly.

“They sat down, nag-regroup sila near the reception area. Matagal, mga 20 minutes then they decided na umalis na lang,” said Munsayac.

Munsayac said PDP Laban and the group of Garcia have been corresponding with each other since their meeting last August 9 with party chair Duterte and had tables reserved for them at the venue.

However, Willy Talag, who was elected as the breakaway group’s secretary general in July, earlier told Politiko that none of them turned up at the leadership assembly and that they only received invitations this morning.

But Munsayac stressed that many PDP Laban members can attest that they saw Garcia’s group in the GSIS compound few hours before the arrival of Duterte, who was late by approximately three to four hours.

He added that they can even ask the GSIS to provide them with a CCTV footage to confirm that Garci’s group was indeed in the area during that day.

With the absence of Garcia’s group, PDP Laban leadership failed to mend ties with the breakaway faction.

A reliable source told Politiko that one of the possible reasons why the Garcia group refused to register in the log sheet is that once their names are already written, it is presumed that they are recognizing the authority of Senator Aquilino Pimentel III and Davao Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez in the said leadership assembly.

Back in July, Garcia and Talag hosted a separate leadership assembly in Amoranto Stadium, wherein they “replaced” Pimentel and Alvarez as president and secretary-general of the ruling party respectively, even without any prominent member present.

Pimentel, the son of the party’s founder, former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr. described that event as a “comic relief.”