Tapos na ang laban! Velasco is Duterte’s choice to be next House Speaker – sources
By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
20 May 2019
MANILA – The highly anticipated battle for Speakership could be reduced to a mere formality for reelected Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the Marinduque solon is reportedly President Rodrigo Duterte’s personal choice to lead the 303-man House of Representatives this coming 18th Congress.
Multiple sources told PolitikoPH that Velasco together with his wife, Wen had a private meeting with Duterte inside the President’s residence in Bahay Pagbabago last May 17.
One of the Palace insiders said that Velasco has secured the blessing of the chief executive in the highly-anticipated Speakership race this coming July during the meeting. The Marindique solon also brought and introduced to Duterte the newest addition in his growing family—two-month old daughter Sara Kristina.
The meeting with the President was even posted in Velasco’s Instagram account.
Velasco was already introduced as the next leader of the Lower House by both the President and her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in three different occasions.
The lawmaker who currently chairs the Energy Committee in the Lower House served as the Presidential daughter’s assistant campaign manager during the nationwide caravan for the senatorial candidates backed by the latter’s influential political entity Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP).
The name of Velasco was included in the long list of names floated by the ruling PDP-Laban party last March as potential bet for the Speakership although other personalities also openly expressed their desire to seek the country’s fourth highest seat.
Other politikos reportedly vying for the top House post include former House Speaker and reelected Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez; former Foreign Affairs secretary and Taguig-Pateros Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano; and Leyte Representative-elect Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
A separate source disclosed that some of the above-mentioned contender already knew that Velasco is Duterte’s top choice and are just using the Speakership race “for leverage” to secure other “juicy” positions in the House leadership.
PDP Laban won at least 83 seats during last week’s midterm polls, followed by Nacionalista Party with 43, National People’s Coalition (NPC) with 36; National Unity Party (NUP) with 27; Liberal Party (LP) with 18; Lakas-CMD with 18; and the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) with two seats.
The 61 seats allotted for partylist groups will also play a big role to determine the country’s next House leader although the polls body has yet to officially determine its winners last elections.
Velasco needs at least 153 votes to secure the Speakership.