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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

DAVAO CITY – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party on Wednesday shot down Cong. Paolo Duterte’s potential plan to seek the House leadership later this month.

In a statement, the HNP said that because of “delicadeza,” President Rodrigo Duterte “will not accept” the intent of his eldest son, Paolo “to resolve the conflict” among rival aspirants competing for speakership battle royale this coming 18th Congress.

Instead of the President’s son, Mayor Sara’s regional entity has reached a consensus and endorsed returning Davao City 2nd district Rep. Isidro Ungab to lead the 304-man House of Representatives starting this coming July 23.

“We are endorsing the bid of Congressman Isidro Ungab for speaker,” HNP’s statement read.

The announcement came less than 24-hours after Paolo decided to change his previous stand not to join the speakership battle due to the issue of term-sharing “being obsessively pushed” by Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Paolo earlier said that he might be able to unite the divided members of House of Representatives if he would become their leader. Lawmakers in the Lower House are currently torn between three contenders namely Cayetano, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Ungab, a seasoned lawmaker previously chaired the powerful House Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on Ways and Means during the 14th, 15th, and 16th Congress.

HNP also suggested that the three main contenders in the speakership race should just get other key positions and committee chairmanships under the new House leadership.

“We suggest that Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano take the Majority Leader position, Cong. Lord Alan Velasco to take the Appropriations Committee, and Cong. Martin Romualdez to head the Accounts Committee,” the statement read.

“We earnestly hope that everyone can see the light in this option and move forward with urgency in serving our country.”

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