PDP-Laban endorses Velasco as 18th Congress House Speaker
MANILA, Philippines — Ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has officially endorsed Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for the House speakership in the incoming 18th Congress.
Senator Manny Pacquiao announced this on Wednesday morning through a video conference from Los Angeles.
“With the whole blessing of the ruling PDP-Laban party and for the welfare of the whole Filipino people, I am therefore announcing the endorsement and support of PDP-Laban for Congressman Lord Allan Velasco as Speaker of the House of Representatives in the full term of the 18th Congress,” Pacquiao said.
The senator said the PDP-Laban chose to support Velasco as the next Speaker because of the support he has garnered, adding that it will also be good if the next Speaker is young and can be counted on for the welfare of the people.
“Sa tingin ko, maganda ‘yung bata ‘yung Speaker natin at maaasahan din for the welfare of the Filipino people,” he said.
Other contenders for the post from PDP-Laban are Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, who has already expressed support for Velasco, and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, who is a former Speaker.
Velasco will go against returning Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano who are also seeking the Speakership.
President Rodrigo Duterte, chairman of PDP-Laban earlier refused to name a candidate for the speakership, asking outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal to spare him from choosing her successor.
Despite this, Pacquaio noted that majority of PDP-Laban, signed a manifesto of support for Velasco as Speaker.
Gonzales, PDP-Laban’s executive vice president, clarified that around 60 members of the party signed the manifesto. Others who have yet to sign have already expressed their support, he added.
Multi-party manifesto of support
Other House members have also signed a multi-party manifesto that expressed support to Velasco as Speaker during a meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday, Gonzales revealed.
Among those who signed the multi-party manifesto were Party-list Coalition president 1-PACMAN party-list representative Mikey Romero, Rizal Representative Michael John Duavit and Valenzuela Representative Weslie Gatchalian for National People’s Coalition (NPC), and incoming Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan for the Northern Luzon Alliance.
Gonzales added that 39 members of NPC have expressed support for Velasco; 45 to 50 from the party-list coalition; 20 to 25 from the North Luzon Alliance; 25 independent House members; 15 from Nacionalista Party; and 12 from the Liberal Party.
In total, about 200 House members so far are expected to vote for Velasco for his Speakership bid, Gonzales said.
The House of Representatives has 304 members.
“Sa aming estimate sa meeting kahapon with other parties, more or less 200 members na ang pipirma at susuporta kay Congressman Velasco,” Gonzales said in the press conference.
Sanctions for not ‘toeing the party line’
The PDP-Laban said it will impose sanctions on members who will not “toe the party line” in voting for the next House Speaker.
“Just like what party president Senator Koko Pimentel said, the party will be very strict sa party mates so we encourage all of our party mates to toe the party line. So definitely mayroong mga sanctions,” PDP-Laban spokesperson Ron Munsayac told reporters when asked if there will be sanctions on party members who will not toe the line.
He added that the party will still be determining the kind of sanctions that will be imposed on the party members.
“Pag-uusapan pa po ng leadership yan kasi truth be told, we are expecting 100 percent na suporta ng party-mates so hindi pa talaga namin napapag-isipan yan,” Munsayac said. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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