Rody leaves Speaker bet hanging

After President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday failed to name the Partido ng Demokartikong Pilipino-Laban ng Pilipino’s “main bet” for the House Speakership race in the 18th Congress, the ruling party said it will announce it anytime until Monday.

Jake Joson, special aide of Senator Manny Pacquiao, said the President was supposed to come out with the name of the party’s would-be contender for the next Speaker had it not been for the arrival of a “visitor.”

Meanwhile, House leaders believe the change in the House leadership last year would be a guiding factor in the lawmakers’ choice of the most acceptable House speaker who will carry out the reforms of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Paulino Salvador Leachon, Deputy Speaker and Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison, House Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr., and Camiguin Rep. Xavier Jesus Romualdo said acceptability was a major part in the lawmakers’ decision-making process on who would be the next speaker.

“Acceptability is very significant. After all, the candidate will be judged based on his personality and the motivation for his running. Lessons from the recent change of House leadership are material―that House members are inclined to support a leader who knows well his members and their needs and sentiments. Someone that they can always confide in without political barriers or considerations, Leachon said.

Joson said Pacquiao and the President were about to talk about the speakership when they were informed by Maj. Connie De Leon, senior aide Duterte, that Duterte had a visitor. 

“Si PRRD daw ang tatawag kay Senator Manny Pacquiao bukas [Sunday] o Monday through viber, Joson said.

At that time, he said, Pacquaio was at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport waiting for his flight to the United States for a boxing bout with Kirth Trumman in Las Vegas on July 15.

Duterte told Pacquiao during a meeting in General Santos last Thursday night that he would relay to him his choice on the speakership race. 

The President said it was up to Pacquiao to make a public announcement on his “chosen candidate” to contest the House’s highest post since he [Pacquiao] was designated by the party’s president, Senator Aquilino Pimentel, to do the job.

Pimentel asked reporters to interview Pacquaio, the party’s campaign manager in the last midterm elections, on all matters concerning the speakership. 

PDP-Laban has three aspirants for the speakership- Davao del Norfe Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Mindanao Rep. Aurelio Umali Gonzales and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco.

Being a close friend of presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, Velasco is being eyed as the party’s bet for the next speaker. 

Velasco also helped in the campaign of the administration-backed senatoriables who ran under the slate of Hukpong ng Pabagago by acting as its emcee in its campaign sorties.

On the other hand, Alvarez was ousted as House Speaker on the day the President was to deliver his SONA after the Davao congressman engaged the President’s daughter in a “word war.”

But outside the ruling party, Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, a lawyer and international banker, is being perceived as the strongest force to reckon with in the speakership.

Aside from the solid support of his own party, being the president of the Lakas-CMD, he also has the backing of party-list lawmakers who comprise 20 percent of the House of Representatives’ membership and the Visayan bloc. 

House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said they were sure that with his persuasion skills and economics background, Romualdez could effectively lead the incoming 18th Congress and ensure that President Duterte’s priority legislation would be passed.

Suarez said Romualdez, also Philippine Constitution Association president, was the most experienced and competent candidate who could readily emerge victorious in the speakership race.

He also said the returning congressman was a very credible leader who had the respect of his colleagues. 

“His commitment to help President Duterte, especially in approving vital bills, is beyond question, Suarez said. 

On the other hand, Salceda, senior vice-chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said Romualdez was a strong contender in the battle for the next speaker due to his knowledge of economics and financial markets. He said this would be beneficial for the country.

“Representative Romualdez’s decision to join the Speakership derby is a welcome development as far as the country’s economic managers and business leaders are concerned, he said. With Rio N. Araja

READ: Rody’s Speaker bet known today

READ: Ruling party undecided on House bet for Speaker

Topics: President Rodrigo Duterte , House Speakership race , 18th Congress , Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez , Rep. Aurelio Umali Gonzales , Rep. Lord Alan Velasco , Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez ,
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