Paolo Duterte says speaker race far from over, hints at looming coup
MANILA, Philippines – Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte on Thursday said the battle for House speaker is far from over, adding that an aspirant for the top House post may stage a coup d’état during the July 22 election.
INQUIRER.net originally asked President Rodrigo Duterte’s son if he is seeking the chairmanship of the House committee on legislative franchises. He did not deny it and said: “Wala pa naman nanalo speaker, bakit committees na ang tinatanong natin (A speaker has not been elected, why are we already talking about committees?).”
The younger Duterte said he is more interested in the election of the House speaker at the opening of the 18th Congress, citing information that one of the contenders for the top post would reject the President’s endorsement of Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
“May election pa sa July 22 at doon ako mas interesado, kung sino ang manalo. Kasi may balita balita, may isa sa tatlo na balak mag coup d’etat on the day. Mukhang hindi pa tapos ang laban para sa kanilang tatlo at sa mga backers nila (There is an election for speaker on July 22, I’m more interested in that. There are rumors that a candidate is planning to stage a coup d’ etat on that day. It appears the speakership race is far from over),” Paolo told INQUIRER.net, without naming the contender.
President Duterte earlier announced that Cayetano would share the three-year term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco while Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez would be the Majority Leader.
Cayetano would serve for the first 15 months, while Velasco will take over in the remaining 21 months.
Sources said that despite the President’s pronouncement, some party-list lawmakers are still gathering signatures of support for the “Duterte Coalition’s” bet for speaker, Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.
The “Duterte Coalition” was formed by Paolo’s Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Romualdez already accepted the Majority Leader post while Velasco has yet to issue an official statement.
On the other hand, Cayetano has begun organizing the House and met some House members, including Romualdez Wednesday night.
He said he would also meet members of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan on Thursday, but is unsure if Velasco would be present. /gsg
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