'Not the right time': Paolo Duterte backs out of House speakership race


Posted at Jul 06 2019 12:31 PM | Updated as of Jul 06 2019 01:04 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte said Saturday he has decided to withdraw from the race for the speakership of the House of Representatives. 

In a statement, Duterte said he reached the decision after speaking to his father, President Rodrigo Duterte in their hometown Davao City, Thursday evening.

"We both agreed that this will not be the right time for me to be Speaker and I can still help his administration from the House in a different capacity," Rep. Duterte said in a statement.

The President earlier said he would step down if his son seeks the speakership. 

The neophyte lawmaker said he would instead support the bid of his fellow Davaoeño lawmaker Isidro Ungab as both of them are affiliated with Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).

HNP is a regional slate formed by Duterte's sister, Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, last year.

"The President has also been fully informed of Rep. Ungab’s participation in the race for the next Speaker of the House of Representatives," the younger Duterte said without disclosing the chief executive's comments.

Duterte's ruling PDP-Laban earlier said it would back the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who rejected a term-sharing scheme offered by Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, former foreign affairs chief and the President's defeated 2016 running mate.

Several lawmakers, including the House's "Duterte bloc," earlier alleged that some Cabinet members have been urging the President to support Cayetano as House Speaker, but Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez denied this. 

"Out of respect for the President, I have never egged or urged the President on any matter since the start of this Administration," Dominguez told ABS-CBN News.

"[I] do not intend to start now," he said.

Leyte Rep. Ferdinan Martin Romualdez, a long-time ally of former president and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is also vying for the chamber's top post.

The Liberal Party, one of the few opposition blocs in the House, opted not to field a contender for the speakership race, but said that it would support either Velasco or Romuladez.