By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
MANILA – The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) party still failed to reach a consensus over fielding a single candidate for the House leadership next month.
Politiko learned that administration Sen. Manny Pacquiao who mediated the meeting between three Speaker-wannabes from the ruling party has sought a private audience with President Rodrigo Duterte this coming Thursday.
The eight-division boxing champion will seek the advice of the chief executive, also chairman of PDP Laban, on who they will choose among their partymates to lead the 304-man House of Representatives this coming 18th Congress.
In a separate statement, PDP Laban president Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said he has delegated Pacquiao the task and responsibility of announcing the ruling party’s official nominee for the Speakership.
Pacquiao earlier served as the overall campaign manager of the ruling party during the midterm polls last month.
Pimentel stressed that PDP “will stand united” in ensuring that they country will have a Speaker “who can truly work not only with his peers in the House but also with the members of the Senate.”
“President Duterte needs the assurance that he can count on Congress in pushing for the much needed reforms that would uplift the lives of our people,” said Pimentel.
The PDP three-aspirants for the House leadership which include reelected Representatives Lord Allan Jay Velasco (Marinduque), Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, and former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez held a private meeting with the ruling party’s honchos that include Pacquiao and Pimentel inside the boxing champ’s crib in Forbes Park, Makati City.
The said meeting was also attended by 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Eric Pineda, a member of the 54-man Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) which recently vowed to exercise bloc voting in the Speakership race which is currently a five-way battle.