By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian welcomed on Saturday the decision of the Davao City First District Representative Paolo “Pulong” Duterte not to push through with his plan to seek House speakership.
“Congressman Pulong made a good decision. Because what we want is the check and balances between the legislative and executive side,” Gatchalian said in Filipino when asked over radio DWIZ to comment on the matter.
Citing delicadeza, the senator said it is just proper for Duterte to leave the speakership race to other aspiring congressmen.
“Because we should consider check and balance. It is Congress that approves the national budget and the one that would execute it is the Executive Branch. If the House Speaker is a relative of the President, it will weaken check and balance. What we want is for there to [have] balance in government,” he explained.
Gatchalian, however, said it has been a practice in the House of Representatives that the President has a say as who shall hold its highest post.
Citing his experience as a two-term Valenzuela City representative, he said the President has a “huge influence” on the Lower Chamber’s election of its Speaker.
“And I believe that in the end, the President will decide who will be his House Speaker,” Gatchalian said.
Duterte said he spoke with his father, President Rodrigo Duterte, about his plan to run for speaker and agreed this “will not be the right time for me to be Speaker.”
Instead, he endorsed Davao Third District Rep. Isidro Ungab, who was earlier supported by the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) chaired by his sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.