DAVAO CITY 1st District Rep. Paolo Z. Duterte has expressed his interest for the House speakership under a term-sharing arrangement involving several congressmen.
“Moapil na ko pagka-speaker (I will join the speakership race),” Mr. Duterte, a son of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said in a statement.
“The house is divided, I might be able to help unite it. Pareho lang kaming binoto ng mga tao ah (We were all elected by the people). Kung (If it’s) term sharing, term sharing na kaming lahat (for everyone).”
He proposed that the speaker’s term be split among chosen representatives from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and party-list blocs.
“I will ask the Visayas bloc to elect their speaker for their term share, and so with the Mindanao bloc and the party-list coalition,” said Mr. Duterte.
He added, “We are not talking about two persons here. We are talking about our beloved country. It is not about speakership alone, but who is the right person to unite congress and I hope those running for the speakership stop influencing the cabinet.”
Last May, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said that he would “resign” if his eldest son will vie for the speakership post.
However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo on Tuesday downplayed the younger Duterte’s statement.
“Plano pa lang naman iyon eh, so… hindi ko malaman kung itutuloy niya o hindi (It’s just a plan, so… I’m not sure if he will pursue it or not),” Mr. Panelo said during a briefing.
Meanwhile, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio D. Gonzales Jr., executive vice-president of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan, said it is possible that no one would contest Mr. Duterte should he decide to make a bid for the top post in the House of Representatives.
“Ayan ang pinag-uusapan namin ngayon…na kapag siya ang pumasok sa speakership, palagay ko wala nang lalaban diyan. At lahat kami, all the coalition parties, sasama diyan (That’s what we are talking about now… that if he will join the speakership race, I think no one will go against him and all of us, all the coalition parties, will go for that). Therefore, Congressman Pulong Duterte for speaker,” said Mr. Gonzales in a phone patch interview with reporters.
For his part, AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo A. Garbin Jr. of the party-list bloc told reporters: “Tignan natin (Let’s see)… We have 20 days to go before SONA (State of the Nation Address) and we have lots of time to study it thoroughly, lahat ng partido pinag-aaralan ‘yan (all the parties are looking into that for sure)…. Ang amin dito, ‘yung isang leader ng (What we want is a leader of the) House of Representatives that can improve the lives of Filipino people.”
Among those gunning for the speakership are Reps. Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco (Marinduque), Alan Peter S. Cayetano (Taguig City-1st District), Pantaleon D. Alvarez (Davao del Norte-1st District), Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez (Leyte-1st District), and Bayan Muna’s Carlos T. Zarate.
With 304 representatives in the 18th Congress, the candidate for speaker must secure at least a 50%-plus-one vote. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras