Better if Duterte won’t meddle in Speakership race — Suarez
MANILA, Philippines — It will be better if President Rodrigo Duterte maintains his hands-off stance on the House Speakership race and respect the independence of the chamber, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez asserted Friday.
“Dapat talaga independent kami (We should be independent). That’s precisely the essence of democracy, ‘yung (the) division ng (of) legislative, executive tsaka (and) judiciary,” the outgoing Quezon 3rd District representative told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
Although the district congressman acknowledged that the President might want to secure the passage of his priority legislation by choosing his bet for the post, Suarez said it would be better if Duterte refrains from meddling with the affairs of the lower House.
“Mas maganda ‘yun para mabigyan ng options ‘yung mga member to decide on themselves di ‘yung they will be deciding because there was a nominee (by the President),” he said.
Suarez made the remark after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio urged congressmen Thursday to wait for the Chief Executive’s choice for House Speaker in the 18th Congress.
“Whenever Congressmen call me and ask, I always say to wait for the pronouncement of PRD on who is his choice. Otherwise, they decide based on their personal choice,” the presidential daughter said.
Nothing wrong with President expressing his choice
House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro meanwhile welcomed the mayor’s remark. The Capiz representative said Duterte-Carpio was just “trying to stand by” her earlier statement that she and Duterte would let congressmen exercise their personal choice in the selection of the next Speaker.
But Castro stressed: “There is really nothing wrong for the President expressing his choice in anticipation of a collaborative Speaker in pushing the legislative programs of the government.”
The five-way Speakership battle will be among former Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., who are all members of the President’s party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats party, and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party.
Suarez, who is supporting Romualdez, earlier said the latter has the support of more than 150 House members across political parties. If there won’t be any directive from the Palace, he said Romualdez would emerge victorious at the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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