Solons list next Speaker qualities
MANILA, Philippines — Which qualities should incoming lawmakers look for in the next Speaker of the House?
As the speakership race heats up, lawmakers are weighing in on the looming congressional showdown by listing down some basic criteria that they believe the top contenders should satisfy to earn the approval of their peers.
“Primus inter pares. The first among equals. That’s what the Speaker of the House is,” Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said in a post on Twitter.
According to Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Mayo Almario, the next Speaker should be: first, a trusted ally of President Rodrigo Duterte; second, a member of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban); third, a senior House member with no pending legal cases; fourth, has a good track record in legislation; and fifth, has no conflict of interests.
The lawmaker said it would also be preferable if the next Speaker again originated from Mindanao — a requirement that would qualify only one or two candidates, including Almario himself.
“It would also be preferable if the next Speaker has experience as an official in a local government unit for wider appreciation of the effects of national laws in the local communities, with a clear stand on being pro-environment, and a Mindanaoan like the President,” he said.
With only three years remaining in the Duterte administration, the next House leadership will be crucial in pushing the President’s legislative agenda.
So far, four contenders for Speaker have declared their ambitions to take over the post to be vacated by
outgoing Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo: Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque; former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte; Martin Romualdez of Leyte; and former Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig.
A few others have expressed interest, including outgoing Sen. Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition and incumbent Majority Leader Fredenil Castro of the National Unity Party.
Other names that have floated are Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales, the President’s eldest son Paolo Duterte, San Juan City Rep. Ronaldo Zamora, and Cavite Representatives Alex Advincula and Abraham Tolentino.
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