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Nacionalista affirms support for Cayetano in speakership race

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Nacionalista Party (NP) stalwarts LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur and Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu of Batangas affirmed their party’s commitment to support Taguig Rep.-elect Alan Peter Cayetano in his bid to become the next Speaker of the House.

Cayetano is the current Secretary General of the Nacionalista Party, which will have 40 members in the House in the 18th Congress, second only to PDP-Laban with more than 80.

Besides Cayetano, other contenders for Speaker include Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Leyte Rep.-elect Martin Romualdez.

In a statement, Villafuerte and Abu said Nacionalista party backs Cayetano’s candidacy and are confident that their colleagues in the Congress will support the “most qualified, most experienced and most competent” among the aspirants.

Senator Cynthia Villar, the NP national director, earlier expressed support for the former Foreign Affairs Secretary who was President Rodrigo Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections.

Villar said that all things being equal, the NP members in Congress will fully support Congressman-elect Alan Cayetano’s bid for Speaker.

Cayetano’s partymates said they believe that as the President’s former running mate, Cayetano “best understands the President’s legislative agenda and, with his proven skills and competence, is the best person who can help the President push for them in the chamber.”

Villafuerte added that the Nacionalista party adheres to a “principled campaign” for Speakership and expressed dismay about reports of vote-buying.

“We are dismayed by reports saying that that some of our colleagues engage in vote buying in their bid for the Speakership,” Villafuerte said.

“We are conducting regular meetings and consultations with the National Unity Party, Party-List Representatives and Congressmen from other political parties. They appreciate and shared Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano’s ‘principled way’ to the Speakership. In fact, we are gaining traction fast despite reports of massive vote buying activities of other groups,” Villafuerte said.

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