Sara Duterte rejects term-sharing for Speaker

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 05 2019 02:59 PM

MANILA – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio on Friday said her regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) would not accept the proposal for Speaker aspirants to just split the 3-year term among themselves.

Duterte-Carpio said term-sharing is “counter-productive” and would “slow down” the remaining three years of the administration of her father, President Rodrigo Duterte.

She believes this would also result in an aspirant “unseating the incumbent Speaker,” and create an environment of “deceit, dissent, and distrust” at the lower chamber of Congress.

“We do not know why the term sharing influencers do not seem to care what will happen to the House,” Duterte-Carpio said in a statement. 

“They just want to install a Speaker and do not think about what comes after.”

Duterte-Carpio said members of the House, as well as political parties like HNP, should have the final say on the matter.

Duterte’s party, PDP-Laban, is endorsing the bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. The chief executive, however, has chosen to distance himself from the race, which has become increasingly cutthroat as the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22 drew near.

Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano earlier claimed he had agreed to serve as Speaker for 15 months and be succeeded by Velasco for 21 months, but that the latter supposedly backed out at "the last minute." 

Velasco denied there was such an agreement, while Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party accused him of lying about the matter.

Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, would later agree to a term-sharing deal, provided that Velasco serves ahead of Cayetano since the Marinduque lawmaker “already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him.”

Asked to react on Duterte-Carpio's rejection of a term-sharing deal, Pimentel noted that his proposal was "one possibility of breaking the deadlock."

"If the terms of the term-sharing deal have been negotiated well and publicly backed up by all concerned then there will be no deceit, unseating, backstabbing involved," Pimentel said in a statement.

"What is important is that the choice of the leadership of the House reflects the true will of its members."

Making matters more complicated, the President’s son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, said he might also gun for the Speakership.

This prompted HNP to endorse Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab as Speaker. 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.