Duterte won’t meddle in House speakership race

Published June 19, 2019, 4:54 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Genalyn Kabiling

“May the best man win.”

With this message, President Duterte has decided not to meddle in race for the House speaker in the 18th Congress to avoid any conflict, Malacañang said Wednesday.

A day after several newly elected lawmakers attended a private dinner with the President at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President would let the lawmakers choose the new House speaker since contenders are administration allies anyway.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte  (ROBINSON NIÑAL JR. / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte
(ROBINSON NIÑAL JR. / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

“Ang stand ni Presidente doon ay ‘May the best man win.’ Kasi alam mo, ‘yung lahat ng mga nagtutunggalian doon ay puro niya naman kaalyado eh, so, mas tama ‘yung kaniyang posisyon na bahala na muna kayo kung anong… sinong manalo, anyway, puro naman ito mga kaalyado [The President’s stand is, ‘May the best man win.’ Because you know, all contenders are his allies. So he would let them decide who will win. Anyway, there are all allies],” he said in a radio interview.

Panelo admitted that if the President decides to endorse a contender, other allies vying for the top House post might be offended.

“Kasi ang mangyayari diyan sasama pa ang loob eh, magkakaroon pa ng ano ‘yan eh… ng conflict [Because what could happen is someone might get hurt, there might be conflict],” he said.

“Bahala na sila kung sino ang kanilang gagawin.Kung sino ang mananalo eh ‘di may the best man win [It’s up to them what to do next, who will win. May the best man win],” he added.

Asked if the President’s dark horse in the speakership race will be his son, Davao City Representative-elect Paolo Duterte, Panelo said: “Pero sinabi na ni congressman-elect Pulong Duterte na hindi siya interesado [But congressman-elect Pulong Duterte already said he was not interested].”

Panelo made the remarks after the President and his son hosted a dinner for incoming lawmakers at the Palace clubhouse.

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., who are running for House speaker, were reportedly among the lawmakers who attended the Palace affair.

 
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