Speakership contest down to 2
MANILA, Philippines — Two members of the House of Representatives yesterday said the contest for the next speaker has narrowed down to Reps. Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque.
“Our choice is down to two – Velasco or Romualdez. This will be a tough decision to make because both of them are close to our hearts, but we will definitely choose the speaker who can treat us justly and fairly,” said Rep. Jericho Nograles of party-list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta, referring to the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI).
Some of the speaker-wannabes have tried to reach out to PCFI but have a different view about party-list groups.
“They look down on us,” Nograles said in Filipino, echoing the concern raised by PCFI head and 1Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero.
Romero earlier said their group, composed of 54 members, will be voting as a bloc. He has expressed belief they would be the swing vote in the speakership race, being the second largest political bloc in the House next to the 95-member Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) of President Duterte.
The party-list coalition has passed a resolution authorizing Romero to discuss its concerns with speakership candidates.
Coalition members also said they have full trust and confidence in Romero’s ability to represent them.
Outgoing House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez agreed with Nograles’ observation, even as he has endorsed the speakership bid of Romualdez, who sits as president of Lakas-CMD party.
“Martin will be a good speaker. Many of our colleagues here have signed up in their manifesto of support for Martin and that includes PDP-Laban members. A large number of the PDP-Laban lawmakers are already committed to Martin,” Suarez told a news conference. – With Jess Diaz