Paolo Duterte denies plan to seek speakership

By Ben Rosario

Newly-elected Davao City Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte yesterday assailed rumor mongers close to his father, President Rodrigo Duterte, for feeding the chief executive wrong information about his supposed candidacy for speaker.

Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte face the media on the first day of his office on Friday as Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio is on leave until July 22. (KEITH BACONGCO/ Manila Bulletin File Photo) Davao City Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte (MANILA BULLETIN)

The young Duterte vehemently denied he is pursuing the top House post, saying that somebody whispered his father wrong information.

“Pulong to President Duterte: I did not say I want to be Speaker.... may nagkamali nanaman bulong sa tenga mo Mr. President,” the Presidential son said in his Facebook post.

The post followed a declaration by President Duterte that he will step down from the presidency if his son indeed goes after the top vacancy in the Lower House when the 18th Congress opens next month.

Earlier, former speaker and reelected Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said he will give up his speakership bid to support the Davao City lawmakers if he decides to run.

With Paolo clarifying his intention, Alvarez will still have to contend with another Duterte, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who has been opposing his move to reclaim the speakership.

The city mayor has been Alvarez’s top critic and was suspected of orchestrating his ouster as speaker last year.

Alvarez has aired his intention to win over Sara but his offer of reconciliation was rejected by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson.

But the lady mayor appeared to be supportive of the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco who helped her campaign for the HNP senatorial bets for the midterm elections.

Others eyeing the speakership are congressmen-elect Martin Romualdez (Lakas, Leyte) and Alan Peter Cayetano (NP, Taguig-Pateros) and incumbent Majority Leader and Rep. Fredenil Castro (NUP, Capiz) and Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales (PDP-Laban, Pampanga).