PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte’s political party on Monday passed a resolution urging him to run for vice president next year.

The Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) also asked him to choose his preferred presidential bet. The party issued the order during a virtual meeting.

Earlier in the day, Palace spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said the President had left it to God whether he would run for vice president or not.

Mr. Duterte, whose six-year presidential term will end next year, is barred by law from running for reelection.

Mr. Roque said the President skipped the party meeting because he was busy, amid a seeming rift between key officials.

He’s got a full schedule,” Mr. Roque said about the President. “The afternoons are fully booked.”

He did send a videotaped message that was played at the virtual meeting.

“I call on all my partymates to stand together and remain united, not by personal interests, but by our principles and values, as we chart the future of our party and the rest of the nation,” according to the video stream from News 5.

Senator Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, the party’s acting president, earlier told members to snub the meeting called by PDP-Laban Vice Chairman and Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi.

But Mr. Roque said it was Mr. Duterte himself who had ordered Mr. Cusi to start the assembly.

He said the President was not bothered by the tension between the two camps.

“The party rift shows the country’s “rotten political party culture,” Michael Henry Ll. Yusingco, a senior research fellow at the Ateneo de Manila University Policy Center said in a Facebook Messenger chat.  

“The plain fact is we do not have genuinely principled democratic political parties,” he said. “What we have are simply amalgamations of political elites competing for control of political power and largesse.”

“None of the current major parties are able to enforce party discipline,” Mr. Yusingco said. “All of them merely follow the commands of the most powerful member.”

The rift could weaken the ruling party’s ability to “collect resources and mobilize people in the 2022 elections.”

“They will diminish each other’s ability to compete successfully in the elections,” he said. “They will most likely split the Mindanao vote, as both the Duterte brand and Pacquiao brand are very potent as vote-getters in this region.”

He noted that if the political  opposition could field a single candidate, they could make the 2022 race “very interesting.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza