Amid the tightening race for the speakership, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Davao Rep. Paolo Duterte met with three contenders for the top House post Saturday.
The presidential daughter and son, who recently formed the Duterte Coalition to “unite the House” in the wake of the fierce speakership battle, met with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Leyte Rep. Martin Rimualdez and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano in Davao City.
Paolo, who on the same day dropped his bid for the top House post, only described the meeting as cordial.
The ruling political party PDP-LABAN has chosen Velasco as their candidate for the speakership race over Cayetano, Romualdez, and Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
Sara and Paolo, meanwhile, earlier endorsed Davao 3rd district Rep. Isidro Ungab for the position.
Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, who is also running for speaker, believes the impasse among the three frontrunners for speaker remains even after the meeting.
Zarate said the scarcity of details about the meeting appears to indicate a failure to reach an agreement about the speakership.
“I guess at this point, hindi pa rin na-settle sino ba talaga sa kanila ang babasbasan (it is not yet settled who among them will be anointed),” he said.
“Ang tingin ko kay Congressman Alan Peter, tinutulak pa rin niya ‘yung term sharing dahil sabi niya ito ‘yung napagkasunduan,” he added.
[Translation: I think Congresmman Alan Peter is still pushing for term-sharing.]
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier floated a term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Cayetano. Under this arrangement, which Velasco had earlier rejected, Cayetano gets 15 months as the top House leader before giving way to Velasco who would sit for 21 months. Velasco had rejected the idea.
Zarate thinks the race will be free for all when the 18th Congress opens on July 22 unless President Duterte endorses a candidate.
“Unless merong mga major announcement coming from the Palace, parang it’s anybody’s game up to this point,” the lawmaker said.
[Translation: Unless there are major announcements from the Palace, it is anybody’s game up to this point.]