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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) president Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III denied that other top honchos of the ruling party were not consulted before formally endorsing the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco last Wednesday.

The ruling party’s secretary-general former House Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez (Davao del Norte) earlier claimed that he and PDP Laban vice-chair Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi were kept in dark by their other party mates when Sen. Manny Pacquiao announced that Velasco was the choice of the administration party to lead the 304-man House of Representatives this coming 18th Congress.

“Consultations were held,” said Pimentel.

The senator also reminded Alvarez that “consultations must have a time frame, it must come to an end at some point in time.”

Pimentel added that the party leadership has the duty to protect and promote President Rodrigo Duterte’s interest “in at least having a party mate as House Speaker.”

Alvarez earlier insisted that the PDP Laban leadership should have first waited until the July 28 deadline imposed by President Rodrigo Duterte on whether or not he will endorse a preferred bet to succeed former President and now outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Pimentel noted that the decision announced by Pacquiao last Wednesday was still “subject to the President’s choice should the president change his mind and name a choice for House Speaker.”

Majority of members of PDP Laban in the House of Representatives, according to Pacquiao, have already signed the manifesto in support of Velasco.

Surigao del Sur Rep. Johhny Pimentel, who attended the private caucus of administration congressmen in San Juan City last Sunday, disclosed that about 60 of the 83 PDP solons have signed the manifesto endorsing the speakership bid of Velasco.

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