Solon implores Duterte to choose next Speaker as he likened House members to ‘lost sheep’

Published July 8, 2019, 12:37 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Ellson Quismorio 

Surigao del Sur 2nd district Johnny Pimentel on Monday reiterated his plea for President Rodrigo Duterte to anoint a Speaker as he likened House members to a bunch of “lost sheep.”

“I reiterate my appeal to President Duterte to pick a Speaker, please make an announcement. Sa ngayon para kaming mga nawawalang tupa, hindi namin alam kung saan kami pupunta (Right now we’re like lost sheep, we don’t know where we should go),” Pimentel said.

Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Surigao del Sur 2nd district Rep. Johnny Pimentel

The 305-member House of Representatives will vote for the Speakership in just two weeks’ time, or on the day of Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.

“The House is already divided into three factions. We want to be united to start the 18th Congress,” Pimentel said.

The Mindanaoan solon was referring to the respective supporters of the three frontrunners in the Speakership fight, namely Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez, Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano

The battle for the Speakership is considered as wide open due to the Chief Executive’s continued refusal to pick a bet. It was back in May when Duterte said he would stay neutral in the race.

Last month, Duterte, chairman of ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said all of the top contenders for the Speakership were his friends and thus did not want to hurt their feelings.

He further told the congressmen to just decide the matter among themselves.

But Pimentel reckoned that it was still imperative for Duterte to “decide [on a Speaker] and bring order to Congress.”

“Kaming mga congressman ang kawawa (We congressmen are left in a difficult position),” he said, noting that the contenders can’t help but view some of their colleagues–particularly those who support someone else for the Speakership—in bad light.

Earlier, Pimentel asked President Duterte to “endorse a candidate so that the 18th Congress will be united in supporting his legislative agenda.”

“Hindi magandang simula na nag-aaway away mga congressmen ngayon pa lang (It’s not a good start for the congressmen to quarrel this early),” added Pimentel, who served as chairman of the Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability in the previous 17th Congress. (Ellson A. Quismorio)