By Ben Rosario
TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte – Second District Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo failed to get a vital endorsement from presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte for his speakership bid.
But Floirendo believed to be one of the architects of the downfall of fellow Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez from the speakership in 2018, is not at all worried.
A scion of one of the richest families in Mindanao and a heavy campaign donor to the 2016 presidential bid of President Duterte, Floirendo said he has not asked the help of any of the country’s political giants, including Duterte and his daughter, to support his decision to take over the post once held by Alvarez, a former ally and now a bitter foe.
“I just announced it by myself. Wala pa akong nakausap doon,” Floirendo said, referring to a Facebook post where he announced his speakership bid.
Floirendo did not say whether or not he would ask Mayor Duterte to endorse him in the future.
He surmised that the non-endorsement was apparently caused by the fact that the Hugpong ng Pagbabago chairperson does not want to sound unfair by pushing for a person who helped her form the HNP.
Previously, Mayor Duterte called incoming Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez the next speaker during an HNP sortie in Tacloban City.
A few days later in Bohol, she raised the hand of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, declaring him as the next House leader.
Interviewed by reporters, Mayor Sara explained that she will endorse any candidate for speaker who is supportive of the legislative agenda of her father.
She then mentioned former foreign affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who seeking a political comeback in Taguig City, and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora.
Political observers believe that the speakership race will be tightly contested by Velasco and Floirendo, who are both close to Mayor Duterte; and Romualdez, who is believed to be the best of former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Velasco is a regular fixture in HNP rallies and appeared to have the trust and confidence of Mayor Duterte.
On the other hand, Floirendo’s family, including that of Gov. Anthony del Rosario, are loyal allies of the Dutertes in the Davao region.