She said former foreign affairs secretary and now Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano allegedly threatened to break up the administration coalition if she would endorse Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for speaker.
File Photo
Sara thumbs down Pantaleon, Alan for speaker
Edith Regalado (The Philippine Star) - May 23, 2019 - 12:00am

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio did not mince words regarding those seeking the House speakers’ post in the 18th Congress. 

Carpio rejected outright a peace feeler from former speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.

She said former foreign affairs secretary and now Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano allegedly threatened to break up the administration coalition if she would endorse Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for speaker.

Earlier this week, Alvarez said he would work on reconciling with Carpio, widely believed to have caused his ouster as speaker in July 2018.

“He was and he remains to be a very dangerous, Machiavellian individual who does not deserve peace,” Carpio said of Alvarez.

Alvarez won his reelection bid in the midterm polls against incumbent Davao del Norte Gov. Anthony del Rosario, a cousin of his political nemesis, Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo, who also lost in last week’s elections.

“I have no intention of accepting Rep. Bebot Alvarez’s offer of reconciliation because the offer was deceiving and utterly lacked sincerity. Unknown to him, he was surreptitiously videotaped when he threatened, after his win in the recent elections in Davao del Norte, ‘Ipapahiya ko si Sara’ (I will put Sara to shame),’” Carpio said in a statement yesterday.

She said Cayetano’s “veiled threat” came during his visit here last year.

“Cong-elect Alan Peter Cayetano was correct when he said that he did not seek my endorsement when he came to Davao to talk to me sometime last year. He, however, came with a veiled threat, that if I endorse Rep. Velasco for Speaker, I would break up the ‘group.’ And this, he said, will affect the presidential elections of 2022,” the mayor said. 

But she said there is no truth to the claim of Rep. Prospero Pichay that she has recommended Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez for the speakership. 

“If I did raise his (Romualdez) hand during the (Hugpong ng Pagbabago) rally in Tacloban, I did so because he, just like Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, is supportive of the reform agenda of President Duterte,” she said.

Meanwhile, her brother Paolo, now Davao City first district representative, is reportedly also eyeing the speakership.

“The question on the interest of Cong-elect Paolo Duterte to vie for speaker of the (House of Representatives) should best be addressed by our father because he is the President and our patriarch,” Carpio said. 

“In sum, I am only the mayor of Davao City. I am not the correct person to endorse someone to be the next speaker. I only have a personal bet but do not intend to influence Congress,” she said.

“It is best if the newly elected members of the House of Representatives individually decide who among those who are interested to become the next speaker can truly bring good governance and positive change to Congress, to the Filipino people and to our country,” she said.

Romualdez confirms bid

“I am confirming that I am one of the candidates for speakership,” Romualdez said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum yesterday.

Romualdez said he has asked permission from President Duterte for his speakership bid.

He said the President’s nod is an important factor in his decision.

“When you aspire for speaker, you represent the majority coalition of the administration,” Romualdez said.

“If you think you share a common voice (with the President), you must support the legislative agenda of the administration,” he added.

Romualdez also said he consulted his House colleagues who are members of Lakas-CMD, which party he serves as president, before deciding to seek the speakership.

There would be no problem with a speaker belonging to a political party different from Duterte’s PDP-Laban, Romualdez said.

He noted that Lakas-CMD was the first political party to form the coalition with PDP-Laban in 2016.

Romualdez won by a landslide against lawyer Lino Dumas in the May 13 midterm elections, reclaiming his seat in the House that was previously occupied by his wife Yedda Marie.

His Senate run in 2016 failed.

126 back bid

At least 126 members of the House have crossed party lines to express support for the speakership bid of Romualdez, the head of the opposition bloc in the chamber revealed yesterday. 

“They have already gathered I think about 126 signatures as a manifesto of support to Martin,” House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez told reporters at a news conference when asked about his preference for the next House leader. 

The outgoing lawmaker, who won his gubernatorial bid in his home province of Quezon, told journalists his support will definitely go to Romualdez although he is not part of the incoming Congress.

Meanwhile, another possible candidate for speaker may be re-elected Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers.

Several political groups in Mindanao reportedly want Barbers to lead the House, especially since his advocacy jibes with that of Duterte. 

Groups pushing for Barbers say the country needs a young, fresh face but a veteran politician who fully supports Duterte’s government policies, particularly the campaign against illegal drugs.– With Ghio Ong, Delon Porcalla

ALAN PETER CAYETANO SARA DUTERTE-CARPIO
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