Zarate: ‘Duterte coalition’ cracks widening amid race for speaker
MANILA, Philippines – The “cracks” within the House of Representatives’ “Duterte coalition” are widening, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, the Makabayan opposition and independent bloc’s bet for speaker, said Wednesday.
With the addition of Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab in the race to be House speaker, Zarate said that “most of those vying for the speakership come from the same coalition and they are pitted against each other.”
“The Duterte coalition mirror does not lie: Widening cracks are now very apparent, and, it is probably sooner than expected that it will totally disintegrate,” Zarate said in a statement.
Zarate said that with the pro-administration coalition “pursuing its own self-serving political and economic interests,” what could be expected in the remaining three years of the Duterte administration could be hazy, “to the detriment and prejudice of our people.”
ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, for her part, lamented that at the end of the speakership game, “numbers will prevail,” with the Filipinos at the losing side.
“Hayaan na lang maging malaya ang mga konggresistang mamili ng gusto nilang speaker. At the end of the game, numbers will prevail at maliban kay Cong. Zarate, lahat naman ‘yan alyado ni President Duterte. Walang panalo ang mamamayan dyan,” Castro said.
‘Ills of patronage system’
Zarate, meanwhile said Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) proposal to divide the key positions in the chamber among its allies was “truly emblematic of what ails the country’s patronage system.”
The political party founded by the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, earlier fielded Ungab in the speaker race and asked Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano to be the majority leader, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to head the appropriations committee, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez head the accounts panel.
“We earnestly hope that everyone can see the light in this option and move forward with urgency in serving our country,” HNP said in a statement.
The proposed division, Zarate said, was clearly aimed at “stalling the inevitable head-on collision of the factions of the Duterte coalition,” and “posturing… themselves in the run-up to the 2022 elections.”
“What the Filipino people want and need now is a speaker of the House of Representatives who will truly stand for the interest of the majority of the population and not one who would just bow down to the whims and wishes of Malacañang and the country’s big political and economic interests,” Zarate underscored. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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