Larger speakership picture
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - June 12, 2019 - 12:00am

Right now there are four names prominently figuring in the race for speakership of the Philippine House of Representatives. These are former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao Oriental, Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros, Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque, and Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte.

Another thing prominently associated with this very particular speakership race is the money being allegedly offered to win the votes of the other congressmen. It was Alvarez who blew the whistle on the money, and if he is to be believed, the going rate is from a low of P500,000 to a high of P1,000,000 and possibly beyond.

Judging by how glaring, wanton, and scandalously open vote-buying had become, especially in the last election, one does not need an Alvarez to know vote-buying is not an impossible and unwanted thing in a Congress many if not most of whose seats were themselves bought.

It is therefore no longer a question of whether or not money indeed flows in the halls of Congress to influence and secure what heretofore used to be just a normal but honorable undertaking. What qualms used to defy crassness have been left for dead or dying in the aftermath of the last election. Now the gloves are off, perhaps to better grasp the thick wads.

But for what is the money? We all appreciate the importance of the speakership. We are in awe of the power and influence the speaker, any speaker, wields. But is it really that compelling and necessary to spend so much just to win the position? Or is there something much larger than the speakership that is what truly beckons to the aspirants.

Of the four in the running for speaker, at least two are either eyeing something much larger on the horizon or bridging for another. Of the two, Cayetano has left little to ambiguity about what his real intentions are. He is running for president in 2022 and the best way to get to the presidency is to take the short hop to there from the position of speaker.

Now the other one is Romualdez, but he is not the one angling for the presidency. At least not yet anyway. It is his first cousin Bongbong Marcos who is. Many believe Bongbong was the real winner in the 2016 race for the vice presidency. But regardless of what people believe, or what comes of his poll protest against Leni Robredo, his eyes grow moist longing for the presidency.

With Romualdez as speaker, sister Imee in the Senate, a pro-Marcos president in Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and two real regional bailiwicks in the Ilocos and Eastern Visayas, and more importantly an opposition in shambles and reduced to irrelevance in the aftermath of its 2019 electoral shut out debacle, another Marcos in Malacañang has grown increasingly possible.

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