By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
The ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP Laban) party has clarified that its decision to endorse the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is not yet final.
PDP Laban President Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III made the statement in response to the pronouncement made by the ruling party’s secretary-general, former House Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez that the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte’s party to endorse Velasco may lead to schism of its leaders and members.
Pimentel said the decision announced by Sen. Manny Pacquiao via video conference last Wednesday is still subject to change “should the President change his mind” and endorse his preferred choice to lead the 304-man House of Representatives next month.
“The decision announced by Sen. Pacquiao is subject to the President’s choice should the President change his mind and name a choice,” said Pimentel in a Viber message to Politiko.
Pimentel said the ruling party must “protect and promote the President’s interest in at least having a party mate as House Speaker who pursue the President’s legislative agenda.”
Velasco earlier thanked the party leadership for the honor of being selected as their candidate for speaker. He vowed to promote unity in the House and pursue for the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration on time.
Duterte on Thursday decided not to meddle in the heavily-contested speakership race after he revealed that Velasco turned down the so-called “Magellan term-sharing formula” with Taguig-Pateros Congressman-elect Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party (NP) to finally resolve the leadership row in the Bigger House.