By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte has apologized to his allies vying for the top House post after he refused to help select the next Speaker, adding he has no plan of going “underground” and secretly endorse any of them.
The President instead told the House contenders to deal with the speakership race on their own after they rejected his proposed term sharing and coin toss during a recent dialogue.
“I’m telling each and everyone [of] them: I am sorry, I am very sorry, I could not be of help. Because hindi rin ako mag-underground. I will not secretly pass on any order or encoded (message),” he said in a press conference at the Palace Thursday night.
“Puro tayo magkaibigan dito. Huwag na lang tayo mag-away. I will not help anybody. Maglabo-labo na lang kayo,” he said.
Among those seeking the Speakership are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez. Velasco has been endorsed as the official Speaker bet of the ruling PDP-Laban party.
Duterte said the House contenders initially asked him to choose among them and promised to “follow” his command. Duterte however declined to interfere to avoid hurting the feeling of his allies.
“I cannot do that because I do not want to offend anybody. Maski ano sabihin ninyo na bahala ka Mayor, there’s always the fallout,” he said.
Duterte said he instead proposed term sharing between Cayetano and Velasco “just to break the impasse.”
The proposal involved letting Cayetano lead the House in the first 15 months while Velasco takes the last 21 months.
“Ang gusto ni Cayetano mauna siya but he will stay there just for 15 months. That’s what he committed. Si Velasco can have the other half which is not really short, 21 months. Ganun ang proposal. Pumayag na si Cayetano but si Velasco mukhang last minute nag back out,” he said.
When the term sharing fizzled out, Duterte suggested holding a coin toss to determine the next House Speaker but the contenders rebuffed the idea.
“How about a toss coin? Do you agree? Ayaw nila,” he said.