Duterte’s anointment still key in Speakership race

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TABUK CITY, Kalinga – Re-elected Rep. Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang underscored that the anointment of President Rodrigo R. Duterte will still be the game changer in the tightly contested race for the next Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 18th Congress.

Mangaoang, who belongs to the Nationalista Party (NP) headed by former Senate President Manuel Villar, said that despite the pronouncement of the President that he will keep his hands off the Speakership race, his final decision and body language during the opening of the first regular session of the 18th Congress on the 4th Monday of July 2019 will play a key factor in providing guidance to the lawmakers on whom to vote for the next House Speaker with the post to be vacated by outgoing House Speaker and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“We will vote as a party but we will still have to await for the last-minute decision of the President on whom to support as the next House Speaker because we belong to the majority block,” Rep. Mangaoang stressed.

The two-term lawmaker admitted having been invited by the probable aspirants for House Speaker in a number of meetings but he never made commitments, saying that he made known to them is that he belongs to the NP wherein one of their colleagues, Taguig 1st district Rep. and former foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano, is also eying the Speakership post.

He claimed that Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is his close friend and golfing buddy and that he knew about the latter’s plan to vie for the House speakership but he did not make any commitment to support him in the race, especially when he will be pitted against his partymate.

According to him, it is best for lawmakers to attend all the gatherings being called for by the probable candidates for House Speakers so that they will be appraised on their programs once they become the next leaders of the House and ascertain who will be the most qualified and deserving for the said coveted position.

Aside from Cayetano and Velasco, the other aspirants for the next House Speaker include Leyte 1st district Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, former House Speaker ad re-elect6ed Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and presidential son and Davao 1st district Rep. Paulo Duterte.

On the issue of alleged bribery being initiated by the prospective candidates for House Speaker for each of the lawmakers they intend to recruit on their side, Mangaoang asserted that he never received such offer from the aspirants for the top post in the House because it is clear in their earlier party consensus that the members of the NP and their allies in the different party-list groups that were able to win a seat in the House will vote as a block without any consideration.

While it is true that Cayetano is their candidate for House Speaker, he explained that it will still depend on whether or not the former Foreign Affairs Secretary will receive the blessings of the President when the voting for the House Speaker will be opened right after the convening of the first regular session of the 18th Congress.