The 55-member party-list bloc said Tuesday it will vote for either Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque or Martin Romualdez of Leyte for the position of House Speaker.
In a statement, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said choosing between Velasco and Romualdez would be tough “because both of them are close to our hearts.”
But Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said there was no doubt that Romualdez would be elected Speaker of the 18th Congress.
He said a number of congressmen belonging to the ruling Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino had committed to support Romualdez’s speakership bid.
“I will repeat again my projection that Congressman Martin has the edge versus the other candidates
. Martin will be a good Speaker,” Suarez told reporters on Tuesday.
Nograles said among the aspirants for the speakership, only Velasco and Romualdez were truly serious in the bid and had the strongest connection with party-list lawmakers.
“I observed that our party-list congressmen are one in the belief that under a Velasco or a Romualdez speakership, we will be treated fairly and the concerns of our constituents will be heard and respected,” Nograles said.
READ: ‘Romualdez wins over 153 solons’
“Some of the wannabes who have tried to reach out to us obviously have a different view about party-list groups. They look down on us.”
Nograles said he would not divulge those “other candidates” but stressed that, in the end, the party-list coalition led by 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero would vote as one bloc.
Suarez, meanwhile, expected lawmakers from the ruling PDP-Laban to break party lines in the speakership race unless President Rodrigo Duterte or his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, endorsed a speakership candidate.
Suarez believes that Romualdez, who belongs to the Lakas party, will have an edge over the other bets should the Dutertes keep a hands-off approach to the speakership race.
PDP-Laban members and officials are expected to gather at the house of Senator Manny Pacquiao to decide on who will be the party’s bet for the next speaker.
The ruling party has three aspirants for speaker: Velasco, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Taguig representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, also a staunch Duterte supporter, is also jockeying for the top post at the House of Representatives.
READ: Romualdez pushes Duterte reforms
READ: ‘Romualdez can boost Duterte’s economic plans’