By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao on Wednesday said it might be “dangerous” for President Duterte’s administration should a non-Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) member lead the House of Representatives in its last three years.
Pacquiao, PDP-Laban campaign manager, said this as the ruling party scrambles to decide who among its three possible nominees will be fielded in the speakership race in the Lower Chamber.
The boxing champion-turned-politician was tasked to announce the official candidate of the administration party for the top House post.
On Tuesday night, he hosted a meeting with PDP-Laban leaders, along with former Speaker and Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco who are all vying to be the House Speaker in the opening of the 18th Congress.
Like their party president Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, Pacquiao said it is but proper that a PDP-Laban member leads the Lower Chamber, being the political party with the “biggest” number of members who will occupy the seats in the next Congress.
It would also equate to the continuity of Duterte’s programs since the Chief Executive is also PDP-Laban’s chairman, he noted.
“Ang iniintindi natin dito is ‘yong tatlong taon na natitira sa ating Pangulo, kailangan suportahan natin para tuloy-tuloy ang pagbabago sa ating bansa. Napakahalaga na ‘yong mga panukala na gusto ng ating pangulo na makakabuti sa bayan ay magiging walang problema kapag nagkakaisa lahat ng congressman,” he explained to reporters in an interview in Pasay City.
(What we are concerned about is the President’s last three years; we need to support him to assure the continuity of change in our country. It’s important that his proposals that will benefit the country will not face difficulties when congressmen are united.)
“Kasi baka mamaya ang tinitignan dito, mamaya, sa last two years or one year and a half before elections susuwagin na ‘yong Pangulo natin. Dapat tuloy-tuloy hanggang sa matapos ‘yong kanyang term,” he later added.
When pressed to expound on the PDP-Laban’s concern, Pacquiao said: “Delikado, eh (It’s dangerous).”
The senator said they were able to discuss in their meeting the possibility that President Duterte will endorse a non-PDP-Laban member for the speakership.
But Pacquiao said he will meet the Chief Executive and “suggest” to him the three Speaker-aspirants from their party.
Duterte, he said, has the last say on who will be the PDP-Laban’s official nominee for the House Speaker.
He said they hope to come up with a decision “as soon as possible” before he flies to Las Vegas on Saturday, June 15, to train for his fight with Keith Thurman on July 20.
Meanwhile, he urged members to support whoever the ruling party will field for the speakership race.
“I appeal to all PDP-Laban members all over the country, not just congressmen, to be loyal to our party. If they are not loyal, it would be a bad image if we are competing against our partymate,” he said in Filipino.
Pimentel, for his part, warned to impose sanctions for “undisciplined party members” who will refuse to support their candidate.
“It is time to put value and discipline to party membership,” he said.