By Ben Rosario
TACLOBAN CITY – Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte dropped a bombshell among aspirants in the speakership race as she introduced incoming Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as the next chief of the House of Representatives during a huge campaign rally here Tuesday.
Duterte made the introduction that gave some a celebratory mood in the jam-packed Astrodome which became the second stop of the HNP campaign caravan in the Visayas.
The lady mayor later clarified that the HNP is also supporting the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and former foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.
However, she reiterated a previous stand against the return of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to his previous post.
“The ship has already sailed on that matter,” the presidential daughter responded when asked about the chance of Alvarez becoming the speaker of the 18th Congress.
Velasco, who acts as the regular emcee in HNP senatorial campaign sorties, was not present at yesterday’s event although he hosted the Catarman, Northern Samar leg of the Hugpong campaign.
It will be recalled that the Marinduque lawmaker, son of retired Supreme Court associate justice Presbitero Velasco, also did not show up when Cayetano hosted the HNP campaign sorties in Taguig and Pateros.
“We also support Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano because he is also interested in the speakership. Lahat naman iyan ay hindi pa sigurado because wala pang eleksyon,” Duterte told reporters.
Unlike in Tacloban, Mayor Duterte did not refer to Cayetano as the next speaker.
In previous campaign events, Duterte also referred to Velasco as the 18th Congress leader of the Lower House.
Velasco, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, has remained tight-lipped about reports that he is eyeing the speakership.
His name has surfaced numerous times as the congressman who will replace former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez when the Davao del Sur solon’s popularity started to wane.