MANILA The party-list bloc's choice for the next Speaker is down to Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco of the administration PDP-Laban and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez of Lakas.
Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said Tuesday party-list lawmakers have decided to narrow down their choices to Velasco and Romualdez because they believed that they are the only ones who are serious in the bid for the Speakership.
It is also the prevailing sentiment among party-list members that of those who are being floated as possible candidates for the Speakership, Velasco and Romualdez are the only ones who have strong connections with party-list groups, he said in a statement.
"I observed that our party-list lawmakers are one in the belief that under a Velasco or a Romualdez Speakership, we will be treated fairly and the concerns of our constituents will be heard and respected. Some of the wannabes who have tried to reach out to us obviously have a different view of party-list groups," Nograles said.
The lawmaker, however, did not divulge if the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) headed by 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero had already made a decision.
He only confirmed that the PCFI will definitely decide as one bloc.
Romualdez gets a big boost from NAIA inspection with PRRD
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez said the presence of Romualdez during President Rodrigo Duterte's surprise inspection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) airport Monday morning is a positive development for Romualdez's Speakership bid.
According to reports, President Duterte invited Romualdez to join the airport inspection and called him Mr. Speaker in the presence of Senator-elect Bong Go, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo and others.
The reports said Romualdez even shared a ride with President Duterte in the latter's vehicle going to the NAIA's Terminal 2 after attending the wake of the late Sendeng Loo Gaisano at the Sanctuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park where the two talked privately.
Magandang gesture na kasama si Martin sa airport inspection ni Presidente (It was a good gesture that Martin is with the President's airport inspection), Suarez told reporters in a press conference.
"If the President is comfortable with Martin, there is no difference because their thinking is that Martin can deliver and work closely with the House members. Martin has a good background in economics," Suarez said.
Romualdez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from an Ivy League school, Cornell University, and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University.
He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines (UP) and is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).
Suarez said in a free for all Speakership fight, Romualdez would win because of his edge against the other candidates.
He said many members of President Duterte's ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) are also backing the Speakership bid of the Leyte lawmaker.
Many PDP have signed to support Martin, as long as there are no marching orders from the Palace, Suarez said, referring to the manifesto of support of more than 153 lawmakers backing Romualdez. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency