PDP-Laban amenable to term-sharing despite clear edge in speakership race

Published July 3, 2019, 9:21 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Ben Rosario

The PDP-Laban, largest political party in the House of Representatives, has practically abandoned its bid to win the speakership race by announcing that it is now open to the term-sharing proposal allegedly being pushed by eight members of President Duterte’s Cabinet.

Notwithstanding apparent edge of PDP-Laban nominee for speaker, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, over all his rivals, the administration party is now considering the term-sharing proposal provided he sits first as Speaker.

“To help settle the issue of House Speaker which has been dragging for a considerable period of time, the PDP-Laban, which is the majority party, is open to the idea of term-sharing, provided its nominee Cong. Lord Allan Velasco goes first since he already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him,” said Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, in a statement issued late Wednesday afternoon.

Pimentel said Velasco should assume as House Speaker first in the opening of the 18th Congress since “he already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him.”

Former Senior Deputy Minority Leader and current Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza said Cabinet officials were clearly behind the revival of the term-sharing proposal that had already been abandoned by President Duterte.

Atienza said eight Cabinet men have been pressuring Duterte to reconsider his decision and endorse anew a term-sharing scheme between Velasco and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, the former secretary of Foreign Affairs.

It was noted that Velasco has been assured of at least 84 votes from his PDP-Laban colleagues and another 28 from the Nationalist People’s Coalition that has declared support for the Marinduque lawmaker.

The Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI), the second biggest political bloc with 54 members, has declared it will vote as a group to support a single candidate for speaker. The PCFI has reduced its choice to only two – Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

Backers said Velasco is assured of at least 166 votes. (With a report from Vanne P. Terrazola)