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Anybody but Cayetano! Party-list bloc to pick between Lord, Martin because ‘Speaker’ Alan will be a disaster

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Parytlist Coalition Foundation, Inc., the second biggest bloc in the House, will meet on July 2 to decide who they will back for speaker in the 18th Congress.

A party-list source said the group’s choices have narrowed down to two aspirants – Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Congressman-elect Martin Romualdez – who have both committed to give the 53 bloc members a 20 percent share of the committees for distribution.

Although 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero has signed a manifesto supporting Velasco for speaker supposedly in behalf of the bloc, this support was subject to ratification on July 2.

The source said while bloc members were torn between Velasco and Romualdez, they were united in opposing Cayetano for speaker. “He is widely viewed as the worst case scenario. A Speaker Cayetano will be a disaster,” the source said.

Cayetano has spurned the bloc as insignificant and has made little effort to court their votes.

The source said Cayetano was banking on President Rodrigo Duterte’s earlier commitment to endorse him for speaker after he resigned as Foreign Affairs Secretary last year to run for Congress.

But things have changed drastically since then especially after Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, expressed her strong opposition to Cayetano.

“Cong-elect Alan Peter Cayetano was correct when he said that he did not seek for my endorsement when he came to Davao to talk to me sometime last year. He, however, came with a veiled threat, that if I endorse Rep. Velasco for Speaker, I would break up the ‘group.’ And this, he said, will affect the presidential elections of 2022,” said Duterte.

Duterte recently shirked from making a choice on Speaker and ceded this responsibility to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Duterte claimed he did not want to cause tension among his friends by choosing only one.

To save his fading chances, Cayetano has pushed for a “Magellan formula” with Velasco, who has the Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan and Nationalist People’s Coalition behind him, in which he would serve the first 15 months as speaker and Velasco the remaining 21 months. Velasco spurned the offer and came out with a manifesto from PDP-Laban, NPC and the party-list bloc backing him for speaker. Romualdez’s camp, the odds on favorite to be picked by Arroyo for speaker, has claimed he has the numbers, including the party-list bloc.

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