Published July 8, 2019, 7:04 PM
By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
President Duterte has endorsed Taguig City 1st District Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as his choice for the position of House Speaker.
Duterte made the statement as he administered the oath of office of newly-appointed government officials in Malacañang Monday afternoon.
In his speech, Duterte apologized to his audience for being late, explaining that he had to talk to three people.
According to the President, Cayetano will share his term with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco. Velasco was earlier announced as PDP-Laban’s bet for the position.
Meanwhile, the President also announced that Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez is bound to be the House of Representatives’ Majority Floor Leader.
“Your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano sharing dito is, he’ll share the term with Lord Velasco, and si Romualdez will be the Majority Floor leader,” he said.
Duterte earlier stood his ground that he will not interfere with the affairs of the House of Representatives. However, he said in his speech Monday that he had to step up because it has been creating uncertainty.
“I think it’s about time I talk… I tried to distance myself from the… but apparently; I said it’s time that I talk. So ganoon ho ang ano, that’s the setup,” he said.
“Nagpunta sila dito, pinatawag ko I called them here). ‘This has to stop. I will now talk,'” he added.
“I do not enjoy it. I avoided it. Kita mo naman (You see), it’s creating so much uncertainty and… I’ll now talk,” he continued.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Duterte decided to step up since the rivalry for the position was starting to destroy the unity of PDP-Laban.
“Since the election of the Speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their credit agree to respect the choice of PRRD,” he said.
“It’s Alan Cayetano as the Speaker in the first 15 months, then the next 21 months, the Speaker will be Lord Allan Velasco, with Martin Romualdez as the Majority Floor Leader,” he added.
Earlier, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that there’s nothing wrong if President Duterte ends up helping them resolve the issue once and for all.
“You make a stand but when circumstances change, then you alter your stand. Lahat ng posisyon ni Presidente (All the President’s positions), with respect to like this matter, is subject to change without prior notice,” he said.
“Kung hindi sila nagkakasundo at lumapit sila kay Presidente para pagkasunduin sila, oh eh wala rin sigurong masama kung tumulong si Presidente sa kanila ma-resolve. Pero (But they cannot agree and they decided to approach the President, I think it is not a bad thing if the President helps them But) that’s not interference,” he added.
“Kung sila mismo ang lumapit at humingi ng tulong (If they were the ones who asked for President Duterte’s help) to resolve, how can you call that interference? The President will engage or oblige them,” he continued.
Over the weekend, PDP-Laban’s top three bets met and decided to just let the President decide as to the party’s candidate for the position of House Speaker.
The PDP-Laban has been urging President Duterte to make the decision as to the party’s candidate for Speaker of the House. However, Duterte was firm and did not interfere.
The three Speaker aspirants even met Duterte when he was in Tokyo to try to get him to decide.
Malacañang earlier said that President Duterte would allow the House of Representatives to choose their own leader. Duterte even said that he never talked to anybody about the speakership.
The new speaker will be elected this month when before the lawmakers convene the 18th Congress on July 22.
Note: This story was updated