MANILA, Philippines — The 54-strong party-list coalition in the House of Representatives is supporting the move of its leader 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero’s in signing the manifesto supporting the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, the coalition’s Secretary General bared Thursday.
Bagong Henerasyon Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy said “all” of them supported Romero’s signing of the pro-Velasco manifesto but their position would still be finalized on their next meeting on July 2. However, the only thing that could change their position is if President Rodrigo Duterte announces his personal choice for the next House Speaker, she said.
“We supported the signing of cong Mikee Romero and we will have another meeting on July 2 to finalize everything. All of us agreed to stand by Mikee’s signature,” Herrera-Dy told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
“Ang magbabago na lang dun kung may decision si President,” the lady lawmaker added, stressing that they still back Romero as their bloc president.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. meanwhile said the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) would meet again to hear out other members who were absent during their Wednesday evening emergency meeting.
The meeting was called after Romero signed a manifesto of support for the speakership bid of Velasco. This was denounced by other coalition members, including Anak Kalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor, who said no consultation was made.
READ: 4 House blocs back Velasco’s speakership bid; party-list coalition in chaos
Garbin said Romero told them he signed the manifesto to “thwart” the proposed term-sharing set-up among speakership contenders.
“We fully understand the explanation of Cong Romero in Signing the Manifesto as it is only for the purpose of thwarting the proposed term sharing,” the congressman said in a statement.
“The coalition will uphold the decision it arrived on June 19 which is to vote as a bloc,” he added.
1-Sagip Rep. Rodante Marcoleta for his part said the bloc reverted to their original plan of limiting their choice between Velasco and Romualdez, which would be processed on July 2.
“We accepted the explanation of cong Mikee, it being a judgment call aimed solely to preempt a term-sharing floated by people close to PRRD. Term sharing is anathema to an effective legislative workflow and it does not sit well to the common advocacies of PCFI,” Marcoleta also said.
The remaining contenders for the fourth-highest position in the country are Velasco, Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, incoming Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate of the Makabayan independent and opposition bloc.
Velasco is the official candidate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan, while Romualdez is from the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, and Cayetano is from the Nacionalista Party.
House members are set to elect their next Speaker at the opening of the 18th Congress on July 22, coinciding with Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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