The last of June’s hot and muggy days will soon give way to July and the inaugural session of the 18th Congress, where a new House Speaker will be welcome President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been following the posturing that’s been going around the House of Representatives and talk about who will be the new House Speaker.
I would like to compare it to how the bishops in the Roman Catholic church in Rome picks a new pope, but I keep getting stuck on how they’ll announce that a new House Speaker has been chosen.
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A friend quipped, “If the Vatican announces a new pope with white smoke, I wonder what color smoke our House of Representatives will use to announce a new House Speaker. Will there be a flash of magnesium light followed by sulfur smoke?”
There’s returning Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, who was recently acknowledged by President Duterte for having poured a huge amount of financial and logistical support for his Presidential campaign.
This is a fact that Romualdez himself makes little mention of.
“Kayong taga-Davao alam ninyo na I had a Chinaman’s chance of making it to the presidency. Talagang hindi ko na sa sarili ko masabi na manalo ako. Well after all ilan lang sila ang sumuporta sa akin,” said Duterte in a speech in Davao City.
Well, of course, Romualdez is one and then ito si Charles, Sammy (Uy), they provided me with the money,” he added.
Duterte reported getting P371 million in campaign contributions during the 2016 elections.
There’s Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, who was Duterte’s running mate and delivered votes from Taguig — I assume.
And then there is the son of former Justice Presbitero Velasco, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.
They are all still pretty much slugging it out in what can be characterized as a posturing bout, each with claims of having the larger number of supporters among their peers in congress.
Beyond that, two of the congressmen I mentioned brandish promises from Duterte and daughter Inday Sara, that they’d be annointed as this administration’s choice for House Speaker.
Cayetano’s camp says that their principal “sacrificed” and gave up his post as DFA secretary because Duterte himself promised to make him House Speaker.
Velasco’s camp on the other hand says they have the support of both Duterte and Inday Sara.
Although Romualdez could also claim to have the support of the President and his daughter, has downplayed all previous pronouncements of the two, saying that he was going to be the next House Speaker.
Most of the news coming from Romualdez’ camp focuses of Federalism and other items in an incipient Presidential legislative agenda.
Sure, now and then, there’s talk about stalwarts from Nacionalista, PDP, and other major parties. But that seems to be a small part of Romualdez’ communications campaign.
In short, Romualdez is the odd man out focusing on the responsibility of the House Speaker. The other two, Velasco and Cayetano, seem to be locked in a battle over who has more of a “right” to be House Speaker.