House party-list bloc to meet Speaker-aspirants

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 11:17 PM

MANILA - At least 50 party-list representatives will meet with lawmakers aspiring for the House speakership to evaluate whose leadership bid should be backed come July, a coalition head said Wednesday.

The Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. - a House bloc composed of 50 to 55 party-list lawmakers - invited “all aspiring speakers” to a lunch meeting in a hotel in Ortigas on Thursday, the group’s incoming chief, 1-PACMAN Rep. Michael Romero told reporters.

“This is a chance for the speakers to air kung ano ang gusto nilang ipahiwatig sa coalition,” he said on the sidelines of the party-list proclamation in Pasay City.

“Hindi naman screening, hindi naman pitch but for the speakers to tell us kung ano agenda nila and if we would support them,” he said.

The party-list bloc is looking for a House Speaker who will push for the legislative agenda of the coalition, Romero said, without specifying the group’s legislative priorities.

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez have confirmed their attendance, he said.

The group has yet to receive a definite response from Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, while a “window was left” for Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, he said.

Cayetano earlier said he decided to return to Congress because President Rodrigo Duterte needs a strong ally in the House of Representatives.

However, Hugpong ng Pagbabago chair and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said Cayetano warned her that endorsing Velasco “would break up the ‘group.’ And this, he said, will affect the Presidential elections of 2022.”

Duterte-Carpio was instrumental in the ousting of Alvarez as House Speaker last year, hours before the President delivered his third State of the Nation address at the Batasan Pambansa.

Alvarez was replaced by third-termer Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.