Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s recent remarks about Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and incoming Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano do not bode well for their bids to become the next Speaker of the House, a veteran lawmaker said Monday.
Last week, the President’s daughter spurned a reconciliation bid from Alvarez as being insincere and said Cayetano had threatened to “break up the group” if she supported Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the next speaker.
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House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez told reporters that the Davao mayor’s remarks were a factor in the speakership race.
“Owing to the fact that Mayor Sara gave strong words, that will have some weight in the choice of the undecided members of the House of Representatives,” he said.
Suarez added that Carpio’s statements may have narrowed the contenders for the speakership to two—Velasco and incoming Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
Romualdez, president of the Philippine Constitution Association and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, is being backed by at least 126 lawmakers who signed a manifesto of support in his favor.
Suarez said he would not be surprised if Romualdez would get more than enough votes from his colleagues in the incoming 18th Congress.
Carpio last week said, “Alvarez was, and he remains to be, a very dangerous, Machiavellian individual who does not deserve peace.”
Alvarez, a known ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, was ousted as speaker in July 2018 and was replaced by Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of Pampanga.
Carpio was reputed to be behind the ouster of Alvarez.
As for Cayetano, the Davao City mayor pooh-poohed his “threat” to bolt the administration coalition should she endorse Velasco for the speakership.
Cayetano was President Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 presidential elections but placed a poor third behind Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who has a pending election protest against Robredo.
Duterte, meanwhile, said he would resign if his son, Davao City congressman-elect Paolo Duterte seeks the speakership.
“I told him, if you run for speakership, let me know. Because if you run, I will resign,” Duterte said during the oathtaking of several government officials at Malacañan Palace.
The President vows to remain neutral on the issue of House speakership but admitted that some aspiring candidates, including Alvarez and Romualdez, approached him even before the May 13 midterm elections.
Earlier, Alvarez said that he is willing to withdraw his bid for another term as speaker should Paolo Duterte seek the speakership.
The President’s son, however, has yet to announce a speakership bid.
The President and his daughter have announced that they would leave it to the congressmen to pick their leader as they respect the independence of the House of Representatives.
Suarez said Mayor Sara’s statement of neutrality favors the speakership bids of Romualdez and Velasco, who she said are both her friends.
Romualdez on Monday appealed to lawmakers to embrace unity and set aside politics for the time being to ensure the country’s high and sustainable economic growth.
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Romualdez proposed that all legislators seeking the speakership post sign a covenant declaring their commitment to support President Duterte’s priority bills, particularly those that are needed to sustain the economic growth momentum.
“The groundwork for fiscal reform has been set. President Duterte’s fiscal reform is expected to take our economy to the next level of development,” Romualdez said.
“If we achieve the administration’s target of reducing poverty incidence to 14 percent by 2022, our country’s collective economic managers would have, in just two decades from 2001 to 2022, reduced
poverty from 39 percent to 14 percent. This would be a collective achievement our generation can be proud of,” he added. With Vito Barcelo
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