By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to decide by June 28 on the candidate he will endorse for the House speakership, according to Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence T. Go.

In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Go said the President “hosted a dinner” for neophyte congressmen on Tuesday night where he appealed for more time to decide on the matter.

Doon po [sa dinner] napag-usapan. Doon po nabanggit ni Pangulong Duterte na bigyan siya ng kaunting panahon (It was tackled during the dinner. The President asked for more time),” Mr. Go said.

In a Facebook post, Quezon City 1st District Rep. Peter Anthony “Onyx” Crisologo said the “fellowship dinner of newly-elected congressmen,” which took place at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang, was “hosted by [Davao City 1st District] Congressman [Paolo] ‘Pulong’ [Z.] Duterte.”

Mr. Go said further, “Actually humingi po ng konting panahon si Pangulong Duterte. Talagang nahihirapan po siya. Lahat naman po ng mga kandidato ay magagaling. Competent naman po sila. Qualified po sila maging… Speaker po ng House (Actually, President Duterte is asking for more time. He is really having a hard time. All of them are competent, qualified to be Speaker of the House).”

At humihingi si Pangulong Duterte up to June 28, kung gusto nila na si Pangulo…. Mas nanaisin ni Pangulo na hindi na po siya ang pumili subalit talagang binabalik sa [kanya ng] mga miyembro ng House na pumili siya para makatrabaho na po kaagad sila bago pa po dumating iyong SONA (The President is asking for time until June 28, if they really want him [to choose]. The President prefers not to choose, but House members are really asking him to choose so they can start working already even before the State of the Nation Address).”

One of the guests, according to Mr. Crisologo’s post, is reelected Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Q. Velasco.

Mr. Duterte said in a speech last month that Mr. Velasco and Congressmen-elect Alan Peter S. Cayetano of Taguig, Pantaleon D. Alvarez of Davao del Norte, and Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez of Leyte had informed him of their intent to run for speaker.

On May 27, the President told newly-appointed officials at Malacañang, “Sa speakership, wala akong kinakampihan (I am not taking anyone’s side regarding the speakership). I am on my last three terms. Gusto ko lang (All I want is) to do good and if that good is not good for everybody, well I’m sorry. ‘Yan lang ang makaya ko (That is all I can do).”