Duterte allies no common candidate for House Speaker

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/08 July) – Allies of President Rodrigo R. Duterte who are eyeing the speakership of the House of Representatives failed to agree on a common candidate for the post in a meeting last Saturday here with Davao City 2nd District Rep. Paolo Duterte and Mayor Sara Duterte, Davao City 2nd District Representative Mylene Garcia-Albano, the spokesperson for the Duterte Alliance, said.

Garcia-Albano said in an interview that Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Velasco and Taguig 1st district Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano had not made it clear if they would join the alliance and support the bid of Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab for the speakership.

Ungab was was the candidate endorsed earlier by the alliance for the House’s top post.

Garcia-Albano said the other contenders had maintained that they would be gunning for the speakership despite the position of the alliance against the term-sharing agreement.

“We are hoping that it was the start of the process to unify (the House of Representatives). We are hopeful indeed that it would be part of the process arriving at a consensus that can help to select the Speaker,” she said.

She said she was unsure if they will be meeting again but added several meetings will be taking place in the coming days with other House members in light of the “invitation” of the Duterte Alliance.

Rep. Duterte had given up his plan to vie for the speakership and instead backed Ungab after his meeting with his father on Thursday evening.

The alliance was established by six House members who ran under the Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, collectively known as the Hugpong Alliance, and two party-list lawmakers.

The group’s  founding members are Duterte, Ungab, Davao City 2nd District Rep. Vincent Garcia, Davao Oriental 1st District Rep. Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley 1st District Rep. Manuel Zamora, Davao Occidental Rep. Lorna Bautista-Bandigan, and Marino Partylist Representatives Carlo “Sandro” Gonzales and Jose Antonio Lopez. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)