Philippines: Duterte may not endorse PDP-Laban contender for speaker

  • President Duterte may choose not to endorse a contender of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) for the race for House speaker, a Cabinet official said on 16 Jun 19.
  • Secretary to the Cabinet Karlo Nograles said Duterte may choose to remain neutral on the speakership race because his preference could “tilt the balance” and influence other parties.
  • On 13 Jun 19, Sen. Manny Pacquiao consulted Duterte on who PDP-Laban’s bet for the speakership would be. Among the PDP-Laban members who are eyeing the post are former House speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
  • Nograles said Duterte has yet to decide on whether to support anyone in the fight for House leadership.
  • Contenders for House speaker would have to seek the support of their colleagues in the chamber if the Chief Executive remains neutral, according to Nograles.
  • Officials of the House of Representatives have had enough of a speaker who bullied them, which is why administration lawmakers have expressed their desire to vote for an aspirant who will unify the various interests of legislators.
  • House Deputy Speaker Munir Arbison sees no problem whoever emerges as speaker by 22 Jul 19 primarily because all of the aspirants are allies of Duterte who can help him push his legislative agenda in the 18th Congress, which will run until Jul 22.
  • The Sulu congressman pointed out though that among the contenders, reelected Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez has “a good chance to become the speaker if he has the majority support.”
  • Outgoing House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez has repeatedly endorsed the speakership bid of Romualdez, who sits as president of their party Lakas-CMD, and whose 156 signatures from his fellow lawmakers remain unsurpassed until now.
  • The son of the late speaker Prospero Nograles said party-list congressmen believe that only “under a Velasco or a Romualdez speakership will we be treated fairly and the concerns of our constituents be heard and respected.”

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