The camp of returning Taguig congressman-elect Alan Peter Cayetano will host today a seminar at a hotel in Clark, Pampanga for the newest House members who won in the recent midterm elections.
Christopher Bong Go Page
Speakership race heats up
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - June 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The unofficial race for the speakership has begun.  

The camp of returning Taguig congressman-elect Alan Peter Cayetano will host today a seminar at a hotel in Clark, Pampanga for the newest House members who won in the recent midterm elections. 

Cayetano, one of the contenders for speaker, also brought with him several members of President Duterte’s Cabinet, who will be giving lectures on lawmaking and the budget process. 

Among these Cabinet members are Secretaries Mark Villar of public works, Arthur Tugade of transportation and Carlos Dominguez III of finance. 

The three are directly in charge of Duterte’s Build, Build, Build program until 2022. 

An unnamed official of the Department of Budget and Management, who will either be an “undersecretary or assistant secretary,” will also be delivering a seminar on the “fundamentals of the budget process” for rookie congressmen. 

The event will start at lunch at the Quest Hotel where dinner, cocktails and socials with members of Congress will follow at 7 p.m. with Cayetano as host.

The former senator and foreign affairs chief said he was instructed by Duterte to help him push his legislative agenda for the second half of his six-year term.  

Subjects on parliamentary procedure and traditions of Congress will be explained by professor and political analyst Edmund Tayao and reelected Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales II. 

Others hosts include Cayetano’s colleagues in the Nacionalista Party – House Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu and Reps. LRay Villafuerte of Camarines Sur, Ronnie Zamora of San Juan, Abraham Tolentino of Cavite, Dan Fernandez of Laguna, Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite, Robbie Puno of Antipolo and Bong Bravo of party-list Coop-Natcco.

Rep. Jericho Nograles of party-list Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta hinted earlier that there would most likely be only two serious contenders for the speakership – Reps. Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque. 

Nograles, a presidential nephew as his mother Rhodora Bendigo is a cousin of Duterte, made this forecast in the run-up to the speakership race to be decided on July 22. 

“Our choice is down to two – Velasco or Romualdez. This will be a tough decision to make because both of them are close to our hearts but we will definitely choose the speaker who can treat us justly and fairly,” Nograles said, referring to the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI).

“Some of the wannabes who have tried to reach out to us obviously have a different view about party-list groups. Mababa ang tingin sa amin,” he said, echoing the same concern raised by their leader, PCFI and 1Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero, about being “second-class citizens.” 

Romero said their group, composed of 54 members, will be voting as a bloc. He expressed belief they would also be the “swing vote” in the speakership race, being the second largest political bloc in the House next to the 95-member PDP-Laban party of Duterte. 

“With the free for all, the party-list bloc with about 54 voting members might be the swing vote in choosing the speaker,” he said.

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