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Duterte hands-off in Speaker race



By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has taken a hands-off approach to the looming race for the new Speaker of the House of Representatives following the midterm elections.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) campaign rally at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum in Palawan on April 4, 2019. (ALBERT ALCAIN/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the President does not meddle in the affairs of Congress, and will just let the lawmakers decide and choose their new House Speaker.

“Hindi naman siya nakikialam pagdating sa mga eleksyon diyan sa Congress [He does not interfere with elections in Congress],” he said during a Palace press briefing.

Asked if Duterte would be disappointed if the new House Speaker does not come from the ruling PDP-Laban party, Panelo: “Hindi naman siguro. Kasi Presidente nga, since he’s not interfering with the functions of both Houses [Probably not because the President, since he is not interfering with the functions of both Houses].”

The President however counts on the members of Congress to fullfill their mandate to serve the people and the nation, according to Panelo.

“Kasi as far as the President is concerned: Hinalal kayo diyan, alam ninyo naman iyong mga tungkulin ninyo. Tayong lahat ay mga workers of the government, dapat palagi ang lahat ng gagawin natin, pabor sa mga kababayan natin at sa ating bansa [As far as the President is concerned, you are elected and you know your duties. We are all workers of the government so we must always act in favor of the people and the country],” he said.

Reelected Davao del Norte 1st Rep. Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez is reportedly eyeing to run for House Speaker after his removal from the post last year.

Other reported contenders for the Speakership are Antique Rep. Loren Legarda, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Reps. Martin Romualdez and Lucy Torres-Gomez, and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Asked if the President supports Alvarez’s bid for House Speaker, Panelo said: “Hindi natin alam kasi ibang usapan na iyong Speakership fight, it’s among themselves [We don’t know because the Speakership fight is another issue. It’s among themselves].”


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