Davao lawmakers to Cabinet members: Hands off Speaker race

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2019 02:56 PM

MANILA – A group of Davao Region lawmakers allied with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Friday said Cabinet members must not be involved in the selection of the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The group, which calls itself the “Duterte Coalition,” said members of the House of Representatives, not Cabinet members, “are the only rightful electorate for their leader.”

“It has come to our attention that certain Presidential Cabinet members have their bet for Speaker. Everyone should note that, Cabinet members serve only on the basis of the trust and confidence of the President and should not participate in the selection of the Speaker,” the coalition said in a statement.

“Let us draw the line to define the independence of the Executive and the Legislative branches of the government.”

The coalition is composed of Davao City Reps. Paolo Duterte, Isidro Ungab, and Vincent Garcia, Davao Oriental 1st District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley 1st District Rep. Rep. Manuel “Way Kurat” Zamora, Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan, Dumper party-list Rep. Claudine Bautista, and Marino party-list Reps. Sandro Gonzales and Anton Lopez.

Regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, led by Duterte-Carpio, earlier endorsed Ungab as the chief executive's allies wrangled for the post. It said it fielded Ungab because President Rodrigo Duterte, out of delicadeza, would not accept the intent of his son, Paolo, to lead the lower chamber.

It also suggested that Taguig Rep. Cayetano take the Majority Leader position, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco the Appropriations Committee chairmanship, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the Accounts Committee chairmanship. All three are aspiring to become Speaker.

The coalition described itself as a “strategic partnership of dynamic public servants who are committed to institute governance and development reforms.” It urged Speaker aspirants Cayetano, Velasco and Romualdez to be their partners.

“We shall not serve one interest, we will work for all Filipinos. And we begin today,” the coalition said.

DOMINGUEZ MEDDLING?

Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is backing Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano's speakership bid, after other allies in the chamber thumbed down his proposed term-sharing scheme.

Atienza said he received reports that Dominguez and his peers have been egging the President to back a term-sharing deal for the House speaker position.

Atienza said Dominguez backed Cayetano's speakership bid, after other allies in the chamber thumbed down the proposed term-sharing scheme.

Dominguez denied meddling in the Speakership race.

"Out of respect for the President, I have never egged or urged the President on any matter since the start of this Administration and I do not intend to start now," Dominguez told ABS-CBN News.

The ruling PDP-Laban party, which backs Velasco’s bid, said the party is now open to the term-sharing deal but Velasco must serve first “since he already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him.”