In a chance interview, Senator-elect Christopher Go said the President promised that he will have his choice by June 28.
“Actually, the President asked for a little time. He’s having a hard time. All of the candidates are skilled, competent, and qualified,” Go said on Wednesday.
“If the President had his way, he wouldn’t be making that choice, but the House members keep on asking him to choose so that they can begin work even before the SONA,” he added, referring to the State of the Nation Address.
Go said President Duterte made the announcement during a gathering for neophyte lawmakers from the House on Tuesday night at Malacañang.
The gathering was hosted by the President’s son and Davao City Rep.-elect Paolo Duterte.
Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin admitted that lawmakers waited for the President to endorse one of three candidates from the ruling PDP-Laban for the post of Speaker, but they failed to get a direct response from him.
“There was no endorsement yet from the President. It was purely a social event which the President graced upon the invitation of Congressman Pulong,” said Garbin.
“But perhaps, the President will make an announcement on June 28,” Garbin added.
Masbate Rep.-elect Wilton Kho, who attended the event, said the President told the attendees that he would make an announcement June 28 but did not give details.
Garbin also said that Duterte first told them that the announcement could be made 72 hours before his fourth SONA on July 22.
“We were surprised that the President came to the dinner and spent time with us. The new congressmen, as well as the returning ones, appreciated the gesture of the President to welcome us personally in the Palace despite his busy schedule,” Garbin said.
The three candidates within the PDP-Laban are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was ousted from that post by former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Outside of the PDP-Laban, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez is also seen as a strong contender for the position.
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