Next speaker must come from Duterte party, contender says

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 03 2019 11:02 AM

President Rodrigo Duterte greets some guests after delivering his third State of the Nation Address at the Session Hall of the House of Representatives on July 23, 2018. A new speaker will be elected in July 2019 when the 18th Congress opens. King Rodriguez, Malacanang Photo/File

MANILA – The next Speaker of the House of Representatives should come from President Rodrigo Duterte's PDP-Laban to ensure support for his priority bills, one of the contenders, who is also a member of the party, said Monday.

At 84, President's party will have the most number of seats in the 18th Congress, which will open in July, said Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.

"Kami ang pwedeng makipaglaban, magtuloy sa mga programang pinaghirapan na magaganda ng Pangulong Duterte,” Gonzales told ANC’s Headstart.

(We are the ones who can fight for and continue the good programs started by President Duterte.)

Gonzales is one of three PDP-Laban contenders for speaker alongside Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Gonzales said the PDP-Laban would have to choose who among himself, Velasco, and Alvarez will seek the top post in the House.

Duterte's daughter, Sara Duterte-Carpio, who campaigned for a pro-administration sweep of the senatorial elections, once described Velasco as the "next speaker."

Alvarez is seeking to reclaim his post after he was ousted in a coup last year that installed former President Gloria Arroyo as speaker. Arroyo was not eligible for reelection as Pampanga congresswoman last May 13 after reaching the constitutional limit of 3 3-year terms.

Other contenders include Arroyo protégé Martin Romualdez of Leyte and incoming Taguig Rep, Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's former running mate in the 2016 elections and former foreign secretary.