PRESIDENT RODRIGO R. Duterte has, after all, named a preference — two, that is — for House speaker in an attempt to end what has become a thorny fight for the post.

Malacañang announced Monday afternoon that Mr. Duterte endorsed Representatives Alan Peter S. Cayetano of Taguig and Lord Allan Q. Velasco of Marinduque under a term-sharing arrangement.

“Since the election of the Speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their credit agree to respect the choice of PRRD,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said in a statement.

He added, “It’s Allan Cayetano as the Speaker in the first 15 months, then the next 21 months, the Speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco, with Martin Romualdez as the Majority Floor Leader,” he added.

In a media interview at the Palace, hours before he issued his statement, Mr. Panelo said the three lawmakers were seeking Mr. Duterte’s advice to resolve the speakership battle.

“They decided that if the President doesn’t help them, they will meet before the SONA (State of the Nation Address on July 22) to resolve the conflict between and among them,” he told reporters.

During the press briefing, Mr. Panelo said that if the President were to ask, he would rather leave the matter to the members of the House of Representatives.

“May the best man win, iyon ang sinabi niya (That’s what he said),” Mr. Panelo said.

“Knowing the President, hahayaan niya lang iyan. Ang style ni Presidente, matira matibay (he will just let that be. The President’s style is that the toughest will be the last man standing),” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin