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Party-list coalition about to collapse?

4 House blocs back Velasco’s speakership bid; party-list coalition in chaos

/ 12:56 PM June 26, 2019
4 House blocs back Velasco's speakership bid; party-list coalition in chaos

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. Photo from his office

MANILA, Philippines — Leaders of various political parties and blocs in the House of Representatives have committed their support for the Speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero, Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Rizal 1st District Rep. Michael John Duavit, Valenzuela City 1st Rep. Wes Gatchalian, and Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan signed the manifesto of support for Velasco. 

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Romero is the president of the 54-member party-list coalition, Gonzales is from the ruling PDP-Laban, Duavit and Gatchalian are from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, while Singson-Meehan is from the Northern Luzon alliance.

Romero confirmed signing the manifesto, saying this would be ratified by the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) at a 6:00 p.m. meeting on Wednesday. He also insisted the group would vote as one on the speakership.

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“We are firmly convinced that Representative Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco is imbued with the leadership qualities to steer and unite the entire House of Representatives in the passage of crucial legislative reforms in support of the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in order to safeguard the country’s economic gains and social progress,” the manifesto reads. 

Collapse of the party-list coalition?

But Anak Kalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, a member of the party-list coalition, denounced Romero’s move to sign the petition.

“I do not know how to address this. Ira-ratify ba ‘yung ginawa nya, ito na ba ang simula ng pagbagsak ng coalition? Wala na ba kaming samahan?… As President that’s really against any of the agreements that we’ve had,” the incoming lawmaker said.

Defensor said the coalition has not made a final decision yet aside from agreeing to narrow down their choice between Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

“To speak for the party-list bloc is unfair to us. Hindi napag-usapan ‘yan, unfair ‘yun, that was illegal and there was no basis for that,” Defensor said in an interview in a hotel in Quezon City.

“We would like to, in clear terms, repudiate the representation of congressman Mikee Romero saying that the party-list bloc already decided for Cong. Velasco,” he added.

Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. also said the party-list coalition has yet to endorse anyone for the speakership.

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“Maybe he signed in his personal capacity but the same cannot be attributed to the collective decision of the members of the coalition,” Garbin said.

The bloc affirmed Romero’s role as their representative “for any speakership-related representation” in a resolution signed by PCFI members on June 19. The resolution also declared: “That we, all 54 members of PCFI, will vote for Speakership in the 18th Congress as a bloc with a single and common choice, both individually and collectively.”(Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)/ac

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