What fiscalizing truly means

On its 40th year since it was formed by Senator Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr. in 1982, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan remains a dominant political force in the country. Much can be attributed to the leadership of President Rodrigo Duterte, who remains very popular with Filipinos to this day.

In fact, in the recently released Social Weather Station survey covering his final week in Malacañang, adult Filipinos gave President Duterte an excellent satisfaction rating of 88 percent — a new record-high. Since the social satisfaction with the leadership of President Duterte is so high, the implication is that he will remain to be an important voice in the nation’s political landscape.

The recent conduct of the National Assembly of the PDP Laban electing a new set of officers led by the new party president, the former governor now Palawan 1st District Representative Jose “Pepito” Chaves Alvarez, made former President Digong very happy. The party may have lost some numbers in Congress but the former president is very comfortable with those who stayed. He refers to PDP Laban now as a movement. PDP Laban will likely stick to the former president’s “Tuloy ang Pagbabago” policy themes which made former President Duterte very popular.

Much has been speculated about the statements of former President Duterte in the PDP Laban National Assembly regarding the role of the party as a “fiscalizer” to the Marcos administration. I already clarified in some interviews that PDP Laban endorsed the tandem of President Bongbong Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte in the May 2022 elections with then-President Duterte’s consent. The former president reiterated the party’s full political support to President Marcos. PDP Laban wants President Marcos to succeed because his success is the country’s success.

What ‘fiscalizing’ truly means is to be able to influence policy choices within the current government systems and institutions. This is what the participation of citizens in political parties is about: To influence policy directions, choose and engage leaders, and possibly, be the next generation of leaders. This will bring stability and vibrancy to the country’s political system. This is how PDP Laban aims to reinvent the political party system. PDP Laban wants to veer away from dependence on personalities and instead focus on issues, principles, and platforms.

PDP Laban is aware of its strength in the legislature and the LGUs, and how this can inspire and effect policy shifts and directions. The newly elected Executive Vice President, Senator Robin Padilla, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, for example, has recently filed Senate Resolution No. 6 urging the study of a government system shift to a parliamentary form of government to provide political stability that would prevent an unconstitutional way of removing a head of government. Note that this has been part of PDP Laban’s ideology from inception — the pursuit of the most adequate and appropriate system of government to reach our overarching goal of peace, progress, and economic development.

Also, among the policies that will be pushed by PDP Laban with the Marcos administration is the continuation of the campaign against illegal drugs and drug syndicates to ensure they will not return to wreak havoc in our communities. In fact, newly elected PDP Laban Vice President for Mindanao, Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Illegal Drugs, re-filed some priority bills in the present Congress related to the war on drugs including the revival of the death penalty to large scale drug traffickers (Senate Bill No. 198), the institutionalization of the Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (SBN 203), and drug Abuse Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation (SBN 202).

Our re-elected party Auditor, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go (chairperson, Senate Committees on Health and Sports), is currently pursuing the creation of a Department for Disaster Resilience similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA in the United States noting that the country is prone to the occurrence of natural disasters such as typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes. On the one hand, the newly elected party Vice President for Luzon, Senator Francis “Tol” Tolentino as chair of the powerful Senate Blue Ribbon Committee will ensure that corrupt practices and abuses by government officials will be dealt with.

These are only some examples of the work being done by PDP Laban and its members. We do not engage in early politicking. Our recent activities mainly seek to consolidate and renew the party for it to respond to the challenges of the present political, societal, and technological milieus. PDP Laban wants the political party system to work in the country knowing that no true democracy will exist without it.


Atty. Melvin Matibag is a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila University School of Law. He has been in public service in various capacities: in the transportation sector, as General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, and in the power sector, as President and CEO of the National Transmission Corporation. He also served as Cabinet Secretary in the later months of the Duterte administration, and is Secretary General of the PDP Laban.

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