The 54-member Party-list Coalition on Sunday said they have to wait for President Rodrigo Duterte to announce his bet for the House Speaker before they could vote.
In an interview over Super Radyo dzBB, Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said they decided not to choose first who they would want to be the next Speaker during last June 19 meeting when they learned from the President, in a meeting with the new lawmakers, that he would disclose his choice on June 28.
“Our voting was then interrupted. Maybe, the President’s announcement would be a major factor for us on who to support for the Speaker in the 18th Congress,” he said, adding “it is not absolute, by the way, we will tow the line.”
He said the Party-list Coalition reached a consensus to cancel their plan to vote.
“The members are unanimous to wait for the announcement of the President before we decide to choose our Speaker for the 18th Congress,” he added.
Deputy Speaker and AAMBAS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin previously said they would back a Speaker who could give the party-list representatives the assurance of an equal treatment and recognition.
“If the party-lists, by law, is 20 percent of the composition of the House [of Representatives], we are looking for 20 percent of the chairmanship,” she recently said, adding they wanted key leadership posts.
Garin is the chairman emeritus of the Party-list Coalition.
“What is properly due to the coalition, that is what we are asking for. Equal treatment among parties, including the party-list coalition,” she said.
As this developed, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Sunday claimed the majority of his fellow lawmakers in the 18th Congress would reject the proposed term-sharing for Speakership.
“After a series of consultations with members of the House of Representatives, majority of them have expressed strong objection to the term-sharing proposal floated by some quarters,” he said in a statement.
“I share the sentiments of my colleagues in Congress and I am inclined to take their advice,” he added.
He said term-sharing could only weaken the speakership, disrupt the flow of legislative work and even derail key measures pending for deliberation and approval.
Earlier, Cayetano said he was amenable to term-sharing the speakership post with Velasco, adding President Duterte gave him the consent to do so.
Cayetano and Velasco are two of the strong contenders for the House speakership, along with the other bets, Leyte Rep.-elect Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales.