By Ellson Quismorio
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Representative Johnny Pimentel said the next House Speaker should come from ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party, or else it will not look good for President Duterte, who is the party chairman.
“I think the Speaker should come from PDP because the President is the chairman of PDP. It won’t look good if the Speaker will come from another party,” said Pimentel, who belongs to PDP-Laban.
The Speakership derby in the 18th Congress is said to be down to three congressmen who are all on friendly terms with Duterte – Nacionalista Party’s (NP) Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros), Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats’ (Lakas-CMD) Martin Romualdez (Leyte 1st district), and PDP-Laban’s Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque lone district).
“PDP is the biggest bloc in Congress with 84 members. Once PDP declares its candidate, the Speakership race will take shape.” Pimentel reckoned.
“At the moment we are like a ship without any rudder, walang direction (there’s no direction),” the Mindanao solon said.
Initially saying he would stay out of the race, President Duterte is expected to make his big reveal regarding his preferred Speaker anytime this week.
For his part, outgoing House Minority Leader, Quezon 3rd district Rep. Danilo Suarez insisted during the bloc’s final press conference Tuesday that his party-mate Romualdez was “the better choice” for Speaker.
He reiterated that, in the off chance that Duterte lets the congressmen decide among themselves in the end, Romualdez would be victorious.
“Three days ago, there were 140 congressmen who manifested support [for him]. If he lets the members decide, si Martin na yun (Martin will win).”
Romualdez, a banker and lawyer by profession, is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and political party Lakas-CMD. He was the House Independent Bloc leader of the 16th Congress.
This early, the Visayas solon has set his goals on helping the Duterte administration move the economy forward following the divisive election season.
“We have no choice but to set aside politics in the meantime if we are to move the country’s economy forward. Sayang ang momentum natin kung masisira lang ng pulitika (It will be a waste if we let politics ruin our momentum),” Romualdez said.
“The groundwork for fiscal reform has been set. President Duterte’s fiscal reform is expected to take our economy to the next level of development,” he added.