Jose Chaves Alvarez, the Representative of Palawan's 2nd District, speaks at a hearing of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food. (Photo from the Office of Palawan 2nd District Representative)

The leadership of PDP-Laban has distanced the party from the statements made by former President Rodrigo Duterte, who called on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to undergo a drug test.

Palawan 2nd District Representative Jose Alvarez, who is the President of PDP-Laban, said in a press conference in Cebu City on Friday, April 19, that Duterte’s tirades against Marcos were personal statements and do not represent the position of the part

“[You know,] our party chairman [right now], being a former president, can say anything he wants. But as in the party hierarchy, we are consolidators, we are peacemakers, and we are at the forefront of the peace and prosperity of the nation,” Alvarez said.

“So, therefore, whatever other rhetoric is above us, please do not involve us,” he added.

Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama, who hosted a party gathering on Friday night, said he is in support of Alvarez’s statement, noting that there is nothing more to say.

“The (party) president has spoken. What should I have to add? Nothing more, no more no less. That is our statement,” he stated.

Senator Francis Tolentino also stated that he is behind the party leadership, associating himself with Rama and Alvarez’s statements.

Reiterating further, Alvarez stated that no such statement is coming from PDP-Laban and that Duterte’s statement is not the stand of the party “but of a former president talking in public.”

“So do not associate the party chairman with talking in public at a prayer rally. But of course, if there are things that concern the nation that we ought to support, the part will always support it, whoever is having the… for the improvement and the prior statements taken aside, let us not drag the party into it,” he explained.

He likewise said members of the PDP-Laban were in Cebu for a fellowship and had nothing to do with national issues.

“One primary reason why we are here is for the fellowship of PDP to greet one another coming from the different islands in Visayas and some coming from Luzon and Mindanao, so we should not associate this meeting with a background that we are in a combative mood (because) we are not,” he said.

“Let me make it very clear that we are here to participate in a council meeting. This is just about fellowship, our council meeting. There are things that we should adopt on this council. So please do not associate this meeting with something that we should talk about and to support the national issues,” he added.