By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
President Duterte has asked for more time in deciding who to endorse in the race for speakership in the House of Representatives.
“Actually humingi po ng konting panahon si Pangulong Duterte. Talagang nahihirapan po siya. Lahat naman po ng mga kandidato ay magagaling. Competent naman po sila. Qualified po sila maging Speaker po ng House,” Go said in an interview in Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City.
According to to the President’s most trusted aide, Duterte said he will announce his personal bet for the House speakership by June 28.
While Duterte already said he would be “neutral” on the issue of House speakership, his allies who are seeking to lead the Lower Chamber have sought his endorsement.
“Kung mas nanaisin ni Pangulo, hindi na po siya ang pumili subalit talagang binabalik sa kanilang mga miyembro ng House na pumili siya para makatrabaho na po kaagad sila bago pa po dumating iyong SONA (State of the Nation Address),” Go explained.
The Chief Executive Tuesday night hosted a dinner with aspiring House speakers and neophyte congressmen in Malacanang.
Among those in the event was the President’s son, first-time lawmaker and incoming Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte. Also invited were Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales.
Velasco and Gonzales, both from the ruling Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), are vying for the top House post. Their partymate, former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, is also seeking to regain his leadership in the House.
Paolo, meanwhile, was reportedly pushed to be House speaker but his father threatened to resign from presidency should he be elected.
Duterte earlier met PDP-Laban campaign manager Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao who asked for his recommendation on who should be the ruling party’s official bet for Speaker.
Being the PDP-Laban’s chairman, He is expected to choose from Velasco, Gonzales and Alvarez.
But speculations were floated that Duterte may not endorse a PDP-Laban congressman, especially as he was frequently seen with Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez, another frontrunner for the highest top post.
Also competing for the Speakership are Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers, Davao Oriental Rep. Joel Almario, Capiz Rep. and House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro.