Philippines: Duterte steps into contest for House speakership

  • After saying he would stay out of the issue, President Duterte has decided after all to endorse someone for speaker of the House of Representatives and will announce his choice by 28 Jun 19.
  • PDP-Laban leaders have been trying to convince Duterte to endorse a speaker aspirant from their ranks, arguing that a House leader from another political party could go against him during his remaining three years in office.
  • The administration party, NPC and PLC are forging an alliance to capture the House leadership. They have a combined membership of 165 to 170, more than the majority needed to elect the next speaker and officers of the chamber.
  • A PDP-Laban member said the ruling party is offering concessions to its prospective allies, including the position of majority leader to the PLC.
  • Sources said Velasco is trying to woo other political parties, including the National Unity Party, which groups former Lakas members who have endorsed incoming Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano for speaker.
  • Velasco told his supporters during 18 Jun 19’s dinner that he would not agree to share his three-year term if he is elected speaker. According to Cayetano, he has discussed term sharing with his colleague from Marinduque. Velasco’s allies are also against term sharing.
  • Velasco’s rivals, including come-backing Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, are hoping the President would remain neutral in the speakership race.
  • At least 126 incumbent and incoming House members have signed a manifesto of support for Romualdez, who is president of Lakas, the ruling party during the administration of former president and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
  • Meanwhile, Paolo told those at the Palace dinner that only two House members are considered serious contenders for speaker.

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