As I expected, PDP Laban’s clay feet appears to be crumbling and dashing hopes of making Marinduque Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco the next House Speaker.
Senator Manny Pacquiao’s bold announcement that the entire PDP Laban was backing Velasco’s bid for the top leadership post at the House of Representatives failed to hold up. PDP Laban stalwarts congressman Pantaleon Alvarez and congressman Joey Salceda denied that they were consulted and thus couldn’t support the House Speakership bid of Velasco.
Congressman Fredenil Castro, the current House Majority Leader said in an interview on CNN’s The Source said, “I think the endorsement of, specifically, Senator Pacquaio, has made the situation of Velasco even murkier. I say murky because some of the PDP stalwarts are claiming that it was simply personal on the part of of Senator Pacquiao and has been questioning what he has been doing about the issue in the house of representatives. He is a senator, therefore he shouldn’t dip his finger into matters being discussed in the House of Representatives. This may even trigger a break up of the party,”
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Similarly dashed are the claims made for the so-called 61 strong Party List Bloc by 1Pacman Partylist representative Mikee Romero, where the congressman said that all 61 party list block members were voting for Velasco as house speaker.
Speaking for Anakalusugan Party-list in an interview on GMA7, congressman Mike Defensor said, “The party list has never decided to support Lord Allan Velasco nor have we decided to do anything.”
Even Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) Chair Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Carpio appears to have withdrawn earlier announcement of support for Velasco as House Speaker, choosing instead to back a “compromise” nominee for House Speaker.
In a statement, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional political party Carpio founded before last May’s elections, said it “has been patiently observing the developments in the House of Representatives.”
“We understand if President Duterte, because of delicadeza, will not accept the intent of our brother from Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod (Hugpong’s local affiliate), Congressman Paolo Duterte, to resolve the conflict among candidates. Therefore, we are endorsing the bid of Congressman Isidro Ungab for speaker,” HNP said.
It said Ungab, who represents Davao City’s third district, “is a four-term congressman and the only lawmaker to hold the chairmanships of both ways and means and appropriations committees.”
Just today, three congressmen representing three powerful blocs appealed to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to back the nomination for House Speaker of congressman Martin Romualdez.
Congressman Joey Salceda, in appealing to the President to support Romualdez as House Speaker at the Kamuning Bakery Cafe news forum said, “Naniniwala ako na for the good of the country, in this abrasive speakership fight, para we can hit the ground running, importante po ang pagpili ng pangulo ng House Speaker. Pero kung pababayaan (ng pangulo) then we will determine (who will be the next House Speaker) only on the morning of July 22. So my message is, ‘pick someone”. Pick Martin (Romualdez).”
Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Presidential Chief of Staff and now Anakalusugan party list representative Mike Defensor, for his part said, “Our choice for House Speaker is not just our personal choice. I believe, more than anyone else, this will benefit the President and how (his) legislative agenda will be achieved. (Like) ano yung mga kailangan naming gawin sa kongreso, yung mga batas, kung kailangan palitan o amiyendahan ang saligang batas, kailangan natin ng Speaker na makakatulong sa ating Pangulo. At ang aking panawagan, batay na rin dun sa binanggit ko, ako nga batay sa aking konsensya, kung sino maganda para sa bansa, at kung sino ang nakakausap at maganda ang relasyon sa mga kinatawan sa kongreso. Kaya ang apila ko, ituro na si congressman Martin Romualdez.”
In an earlier interview on The Source on CNN, Congressman Castro outlined the reasons why Romualdez is the best choice for House Speaker, Castro said, “We should select someone (for House Speaker) who is capable of coalition building. The fact that Lakas CMD, whose president is Martin Romualdez, succeeds in trying to gather cross party line members of the house of representatives, shows that he has the capacity to build a coalition.”
In other articles, it is claimed that the Romualdez camp has already gathered 167 signatures for a manifesto supporting Romualdez as House Speaker.