The Nacionalista Party (NP) and Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) have formed an opposition coalition that would support the presidential bid in 2016 of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
The powerhouse merger of the two large political parties is a giant setback for the ruling Liberal Party of President Benigno Aquino which is fielding Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
The NP and PDP-Laban, along with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), National Unity Party (NUP) and Akbayan belonged to the LP-led coalition in 2016 election.
Reports had it that the NPC, which is also considering Duterte as standard bearer, would be the third party to bolt out of the coalition.
The NP-PDP-Laban merger was forged during a meeting on Monday night, August 31, in an hotel in Manila attended by Duterte, NP president former Senator Manuel Villar and his wife Senator Cynthia Villar, PDP-Laban chairman emeritus former Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., and his son, PDP-Laban president Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.
The merger comes as a convincing power to Duterte, who said he is stymied from running for President due to logistical woes.
Duterte has emerged as a top contender for the presidency, ranking in surveys behind Senator Grace Poe and Vice President Jejomar Binay, standard bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Coalition (UNA), and ahead of Roxas.
Officials of the two parties did not say who would be Duterte’s running mate but reports said the choice is limited to Senators Bongbong Marcos and Peter Cayetano, who both NP members.