Parties deny endorsing Velasco

MEMBERS of PDP-Laban, Partylist Coalition and Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) denied supporting Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco in his bid for the House Speakership.

Statements from the three parties denying their support for Velasco came after a copy of a multi-party manifesto backing the Marinduque representative for House Speaker was released on Wednesday. The document contained the signatures of leaders and representatives from the mentioned partylist groups.

Shortly after the said manifesto was released, the 54-member Party-list Coalition denied that the bloc endorsed Velasco for speaker.

“As far as the coalition is concerned, we have yet to come up with the decision on who we will endorse as House Speaker,” Ako Bicol party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin, Jr. said in an interview. Garbin added that they still need to meet and get the consensus of every member of the Partylist Coalition in order to arrive at a decision.

When asked why 1-PACMAN party-list Representative Michael Romero was included in the multi-party manifesto, Garbin said he could have “signed in his personal capacity but the same cannot be attributed to the collective decision of the members of the coalition.”

Romero’s act of signing the manifesto without a formal decision from the party-list bloc was tagged as “unfair” by Ang Kalusugan party-list Representative Mike Defensor.

“What Cong. Mikee Romero did would have been ok if it was clear that it was his individual preference. But to speak for the party-list bloc, it's unfair to us. We never discussed it. That was illegal and there was no basis for that,” said Defensor.

"We would like, in clear terms, repudiate the representation of Cong. Mikee Romero saying the party-list bloc already decided for Cong. Lord Allan Velasco. There was no such decision," he added.

Meanwhile, Senate President Tito Sotto of the Nationalist People’s Coalition also admitted the manifesto of support came as a surprise to him and the NPC saying they have also yet to decide on their choice and have not made an official statement on it.

“We are still doing consultations and our decision has not been made public because it is not yet final,” Sotto added.

For his part, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda admitted that there was no consultation among members of the PDP-Laban prior to the endorsement of Velasco for House Speaker.

He said party leaders should not just make a decision without proper consultation among the members of the party on the choice for House Speaker. Salceda noted that this is important especially that all members of the party have big contributions in helping administration bets win in the last elections.

The Albay representative also reacted on the threat of PDP Laban President Koko Pimentel that members of the party who will not vote for Velasco will be punished, saying that they should not be threatened or bullied to decide on who they will pick as House Speaker.

Earlier this week, PDP-Laban congressmen crossed party lines and backed Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano’s bid to become Speaker of the House of Representatives.

PDP-Laban congressmen led by Congressmen Ronnie Zamora, Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, Abraham Tolentino, and Dan Fernandez expressed their support for the Taguig-Pateros representative notwithstanding the fact that he belongs to the Nacionalista Party.

Zamora, Gonzales and Tolentino noted that Cayetano is the “most qualified” among the Speaker aspirants and has the leadership capabilities and good public service track record. They also said that many PDP-Laban members have expressed support for Cayetano because they want a Speaker whom they can trust and respect.

The lawmakers are confident that Cayetano will be able to steer the legislative agenda of the President since he also shared the vision of the President of providing a secured and comfortable life for the Filipinos. (SPONSORED CONTENT)


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