PDP-Laban open to term sharing, if Velasco goes first

By Luchi de Guzman, CNN Philippines

In the jostling for House Speakership, ruling party PDP-Laban has acquiesed to a term-sharing scheme.

The party, however, set a condition: its candidate, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco, should get first crack at the coveted post.

“To help settle the issue of House Speaker which has been dragging for a considerable period of time, the PDP-Laban which is the majority party is open to the idea of term-sharing, provided its nominee Cong. Lord Allan Velasco goes first since he already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him,” PDP-Laban party president Senator Aquilino Pimentel III said in a statement Wednesday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines’ News Night, Pimentel said the decision to accept a term-sharing agreement came after he had consulted experienced representatives, who said most Congresses have already elected a House Speaker before the session resumed.

“They told me that at this time they had already fixed everything, agreed upon the House Speaker, fixed the committee chairmanships. It’s quite alarming that we’re already in the first week of July we still haven’t seen the end of the issue of who should be the House Speaker,” Pimentel said.

He added that with this decision, potential House Speakers should now decide on how to split the three-year term among themselves.

“The front runners, mag-usap na sila on how to divide 36 months. Ang position ng partido, start with the PDP-Laban nominee,” Pimentel said.

[The front runners should talk among themselves on how to divide the 36 months. But our party’s position is that the term should start with the PDP-Laban nominee.]

While Velasco himself has said that he did not want to share his possible term as House Speaker, fellow contender Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party said the idea came from President Rodrigo Duterte himself. 

“There is a strong consensus among majority members of the House of Representatives during my series of consultation with them that term sharing is divisive and will only impede the passage of important pieces of legislation that this administration needs to fulfill its mandate and promise to the people,” Velasco said in a statement on June 27.

Besides Velasco and Cayetano, President Duterte’s son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, has also thrown his hat into the Speakership race. He proposed that the three-year term of House Speaker be split between candidates from Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

Meanwhile, the regional Hugpong ng Pagbabago party, led by Davao City Mayor and President Duterte’s eldest daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, has endorsed Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab as its candidate for Speaker. 

Other names floated as potential House leaders are Lakas-CMD president and Leyte 1st District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, and former speaker Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

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