Party-list coalition to support Cayetano ‘for now,’ says leader
MANILA, Philippines — The 54-man party-list coalition in the House of Representatives will be heeding President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement on the speakership “for now,” its president, 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero, said Tuesday.
“We will support the President’s pronouncement yesterday of the term-sharing and we will support both (Taguig Rep.) Alan Peter (Cayetano) and (Marinduque Rep.) Lord Velasco,” Romero said in a press conference after their meeting at a hotel in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.
In a speech during the oath-taking of newly appointed officials in Malacañang Monday, Duterte said Cayetano would share the three-year term with Velasco while Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would be the Majority Leader. In a separate statement, Malacañang said Cayetano would serve for the first 15 months, while Velasco would take over for the remaining 21 months.
Pressed if the group would vote as a bloc for Cayetano at the inaugural opening of the 18th Congress on July 22, Romero answered: “Yes, for now.”
In a follow-up interview, the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) leader clarified his statement: “Hindi rin naman natin alam kung magbabago pa isip ni Presidente… paiba-iba araw-araw.”
The PCFI earlier removed Cayetano from their choices for the next House Speaker and has expressed willingness to support either Velasco or Romualdez.
Romero, meanwhile, refused to answer if they are finally striking out Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab from their possible bets. Ungab was fielded by Presidential daughter Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago. He was, later on, supported by the Duterte Coalition formed by Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte.
The party-list lawmaker admitted their members, who already signified support for Ungab, objected to their decision. This issue would be resolved in their next meeting, according to Romero.
Romero, meanwhile, denied that Duterte’s endorsement would affect the chamber’s independence. He insisted this was just aimed at preventing “disruptive governance.”
The PCFI also expects that Cayetano would honor his promise to give the group 20 percent of the 75 chairmanships of standing and special committees in the House.
Romero also said they hope that the Cayetano, Velasco and Romualdez would thresh out their different agenda and settle the committee chairmanships as well as the “rules” of the term-sharing.
“We have to understand the rules of the game… It’s the first time lahat ng magkakalabang Speaker pinagsama-sama mo,” Romero said. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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