By Ben Rosario
CEBU CITY – Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco said Friday he is grateful for the Hugpong ng Pagbabago endorsement of his speakership bid but will leave it to destiny if he will make it to the top House post.
Velasco, chairman of the House Committee on Energy, is seen as a strong candidate for the top House of Representatives post after HNP chairperson and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte endorsed him during a well-attended Tagbilaran City rally on Tuesday.
Duterte even raised Velasco’s hand in an apparent demonstration of her personal support for the solon who is expected to win a third term as Marinduque congressman.
“Speakership is destiny just like the presidency, just like any other position,” said Velasco.
The incident came exactly a day after the presidential daughter introduced former Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez the next speaker during a huge campaign sortie in Tacloban City.
Romualdez, chairman of the Lakas-CMD party, welcomed the endorsement as he confirmed he will seek the post that will be left by former president and incumbent Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Party, founder of his political party.
Facing the media, Duterte explained that Velasco earned an affirmation of support because he is a member of the PDP-Laban, the political party of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.
With Duterte’s endorsement, Velasco and Romualdez are predicted to be the frontrunners in the speakership race.
Velasco, who acts as the emcee in majority of HNP senatorial campaign rallies, is assured of re-election as he is challenged by an unknown bet.
Romualdez, on the other hand, is unopposed in the first district of Leyte.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has also declared his bid to seek the House leadership. He faces re-electionist Rep. Arnel Cerafica in a tight contest for the First Congressional District of Taguig City.
“Because may advantage ang mga taga-PDP because this is the party of the president. May advantage talaga ang members ng PDP because we all know usually when elections happen, majority talaga ang kailangan mo,” explained Mayor Duterte when asked why Velasco appeared to have a stronger assurance of support from her. (PDP members have the advantage because they usually get the majority when elections happen.)
She pointed out that Romualdez may not be a party-mate of her father but he has demonstrated unquestionable support for the Duterte administration. Support is also being considered for the former minority leader’s speakership bid.
Romualdez, who is running unopposed in Leyte’s First District, was given a boost in pursuing the top leadership of the Lower House when Duterte introduced him as Arroyo’s heir.
Velasco, Romualdez, and Cayetano have confirmed on various occasions their respective bid to become the next speaker. All three have shown their support for the 13-man senatorial line-up endorsed by HNP.
Velasco is a regular fixture in the on-going HNP senatorial campaign caravan while Romualdez and Cayetano organized well-attended rallies in Taguig City and Tacloban City, respectively.