MANILA - Party-list lawmakers may have narrowed down their choice for the next Speaker to two, but AKO Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said President Rodrigo Duterte's pick will still be considered by the coalition.
In an interview on ANC's Headstart, Garbin said they are still waiting for the President to announce his bet for the speakership.
"The endorsement of the President will play a very big factor in electing the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. Anybody that gets the endorsement of the President, I think 80 to 85 percent will gravitate towards him. 'Yun naman ang reyalidad sa House," said Garbin.
Duterte earlier said he would no longer endorse a candidate for the Speaker post. But Garbin believes otherwise.
"At the end of the day, I always think that the President kung 'di man i-pronounce, ibubulong ang kaniyang choice. Kung 'di man galing sa kaniya, manggagaling sa iba," he said.
However, he said the bloc will still vote if party-list lawmakers do not agree with the President's choice.
"We will put it in vote and from then on we will decide whoever gets the votes in the coalition we will uphold it, and we will also respect those who wants to follow their personal preference," he said.
Garbin clarified that the coalition has yet to decide on who to vote for the speakership post despite the bloc's president 1PACMAN Rep. Mickee Romero signing the manifesto expressing support to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to lead the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress.
The coalition has decided to vote for either Velasco or Martin Romualdez as possible bets after the two committed to their conditions that 20 percent of the membership, as well as vice chairmanships and the leadership posts, would still be accorded to the party-list coalition members.
"Hindi namin 'yun bibitawan dahil we always aspire for equal treatment for the party-list coalition members. The one that responded to our conditions were Martin Romualdez and Lord Velasco," he said.
Garbin also believes that term-sharing is already off the table after Duterte met with Romualdez, Velasco and Alan Peter Cayetano in a private dinner in Tokyo, Japan.
"Coming from them na inulit ulit ni presidente 'yung term sharing and when they did not agree to it, talagang wala na 'yun. Off the table na 'yun. Sabi nga ni Presidente, labo-labo na lang," he said.
The lawmaker, as well as most of the members of the coalition, he said is against a term sharing in the Lower House.
"It will just develop an atmosphere of uncertainty especially in the chairmanship and in major positions in the House of Representatives. Talagang hindi acceptable sa kanila," he said.