Race to speakership just a front war among tycoons–Tinio
MANILA, Philippines — The speakership race is just a front war among business tycoons with vested legislative agenda to cradle their interests, a member of the Makabayan opposition bloc in the House of Representatives said Wednesday.
“In the first place, ‘yung mga major political parties may backing at may funding ng mga tycoons…” ACT Rep. Antonio Tinio said during Makabayan’s weekly press conference.
Tinio noted that the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) is led by billionaire Ramon Ang, the National Unity Party is under the wings of Enrique Razon, while the Nacionalista Party (NP) is headed by the country’s wealthiest businessman Manuel Villar.
Tinio further explained that speaker aspirant Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque is “closely associated” with Ang and the Duterte family, while another contender Martin Romualdez of Leyte is an ally of the Marcoses.
“Definitely may interes ang mga ito sa speakership dahil ‘yung mga billion dollar interest nila nakatali sa mga paborableng batas at intervention ng Kongreso,” the lawmaker said, adding that the tycoons have business interests in key sectors being regulated through legislation by Congress like the power, water, fuel, telecommunications, and transportation sectors, among others.
Although Tinio admitted that they have met with Velasco and Romualdez with regard to the speakership battle, he said they would choose the contender who would have the same pro-people stance similar to them and one who would acknowledge Makabayan as a genuine minority.
“Sino man ang maging speaker paninindigan ng Makabayan ang papel nito bilang tagapagdala ng boses at interes ng nakararami… at gagampanan natin ‘yung papel ng kritiko at tunay na oposisyon,” he stressed.
In a separate briefing, Minority Leader Danilo Suarez bucked Tinio’s idea, arguing that a well-off House speaker would not let anyone influence him or her.
“Well there are some candidates who won na tinulungan ng businessmen in all Congresses… Kung ang Speaker ay mayaman ‘di pwede impluwesnyahan,” the Quezon congressman said.
Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. meanwhile said a so-called “battle of tycoons” is not possible because no single political party holds the majority of the 300 House members.
“There is no single party who has a number capable of winning the speakership on its own. Wala naman party na sobra sa 150 ‘di ba?” Teves said.
Aside from Romualdez and Velasco, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano have also confirmed their intention to join the speakership race.
Alvarez, Velasco, and Gonzales are from the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, while Romualdez is from Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Cayetano is from NP. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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