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Party-list bloc to choose Speaker bet via secret ballot amid Romero’s alleged bias for Velasco

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The 54-man Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) will proceed with its secret ballot on Wednesday to determine who to support in the five-way battle for the House leadership.

Politiko learned that the second largest bloc in the House of Representatives will go ahead with it supposed voting in an undisclosed premiere hotel in Metro Manila on July 19 amidst the alleged bias of PCFI President and 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero towards the Speakership bid reelected Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

The richest member of the House of Representatives last Friday drew flak from his other colleagues in the PCFI after he mistakenly posted a message in their Viber group which indicated that his choice for the House leadership is no less than Velasco.

A supposed screenshot of the Party-list Coalition’s Viber Group circulated in various social media platforms as early Thursday midnight showing the billionaire solon’s alleged preference towards the lawmaker from Marinduque for him to lead the 304-man Lower House next month.

Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA Party-list) in the said Viber group earlier reportedly posted photos of a supposed event in Clark, Pampanga on June 18—a gathering of neophyte solons sponsored by some members by the Duterte cabinet and organized by the camp of Taguig-Pateros Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, a rival of Velasco for the House leadership.

In response, Romero told Garin that she should immediately alert Velasco over the supposed upcoming event organized by Cayetano’s camp. Romero only knew few minutes later that he actually sent his reply in the Viber Group where all the 54-PCFI solons are members.

“Send it to Lord para alam nya sino mga kalaban natin,” Romero’s Viber message read.

Romero neither confirmed nor denied that he is rooting for Velasco as House Spekaer this coming 18th Congress but stressed that his personal preference is just “one vote.”

Velasco stressed that he will still abide on whatever will be the result of their voting even if he landed on the losing side.

“In the end we shall still vote as one despite all the differences in our preferences,” said Romero.

The Party-list Coalition earlier vowed to exercise bloc voting in selecting the next leader of the chamber.

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