Duterte remains neutral amid House speakership talks
MANILA, Philippines — “Sa speakership, wala akong kinakampihan. I am only… last three years. Gusto ko lang to do good.”
President Rodrigo Duterte said this Monday during the oathtaking of several newly appointed government officials as he underscored his neutral stand on the issue of the House speakership.
Duterte said Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco and incoming Taguig City representative Alan Peter Cayetano both approached him and expressed intentions to become the next Speaker even before the elections.
“At hindi ako nagbigay ng commitment dahil sabi ko, I will not because there is no way of telling you [who] will win. Eh pag-usapan natin dito na gusto mo kung hindi ka naman manalo,” Duterte said.
Following the elections, Duterte said former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez also hinted his intentions to return to the post.
“Pagkatapos ng election, ang kumausap sa akin si Alvarez, though not directly, pa-slide lang. Something like might be good to be there, parang ganun,” Duterte said.
The President added that Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez also spoke to him regarding the speakership.
Duterte, however, insisted that he never approached anyone regarding the House speakership.
“I never, never called anybody or approached anybody about [the House speakership],” Duterte said.
“Ngayon, puro ko sila kilala, puro ko sila kaibigan. I have nothing against them. Fine guys. We nurtured the best of friendship,” Duterte said.
Duterte also threatened to resign if his son, Davao City congressman-elect Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, also decides to run for House speakership.
The president said it will not sit well with the public if several members of their family occupy seats in the government.
“But then again, with the vice mayor, anak ko, ‘yung youngest son ko si Baste and Pulong as Speaker, ako ang Presidente, hindi na maganda tingnan,” Duterte said.
Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is on her third and final House term, which ends on June 30.
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