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Gonzales: I want Velasco but Duterte has final say on next Speaker

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

MANILA – Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales clarified that President Rodrigo Duterte still has the final say on who will the ruling party, PDP Laban will support in the hotly-contested Speakership race next month.

Gonzales statement came less than 24 hours after he urged his party mates to rally behind the Speakership bid of Marindique Rep. Lord Allan Velasco during an informal caucus held in San Juan City late evening of Sunday.

Gonzales said he might have already endorsed Velasco as the next House leader but as Executive Vice President of PDP, he is incline to support whoever will be endorsed by their party chair President Rodrigo Duterte before the end of the month.

In a dinner co-hosted by Velasco and Davao City Congressman-elect Paolo Duterte in Malacañang last week, the President told those who attended the event that he might announce his preferred choice for the Speakership this coming June 28.

Gonzales stressed that he will also continue to support former House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez “if the direction points to him.”

“At the end of the day, the President’s decision will be given weight,” said Gonzales.

On Sunday, Gonzales officially raised his white flag for the heavily-contested Speakership battle next month and urged his party mates to support Velasco instead.

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