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Tuesday, August 20, 2019
MANILA

Party-list bloc clarifies: No consensus on Speaker yet

MANILA. In this photo taken on June 18, 2019, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco (second from left) chats with President Rodrigo Duterte and congressman-elect Paolo "Pulong" Duterte. 1Pacman party-list Rep. Michael Romero is seated left. (From Cong. Michael L. Romero Facebook)

ANAKALUSUGAN Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor clarified late Wednesday, June 26, that a consensus has not been reached yet on the group's bet for House Speaker.

Defensor said many members of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. reacted when they learned that their president, 1Pacman Rep. Michael Romero, has signed a manifesto supporting the bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco for the Speakership.

"Actually, when he (Romero) signed that manifesto and that was posted on our thread, marami nag-react (many reacted). Yung dinner sa Sulu, we did not decide [that]," Defensor said during an interview at the sidelines of the coalition's emergency meeting Wednesday night.

Defensor said most of the 54-member party-list coalition decided to put off voting on whom to support for Speakership until President Rodrigo Duterte announces his choice.

"Because the President said he will make an announcement on the 28th of June, we did not vote and we opted to keep silent and to await the decision of the President," he said.

Around 40 out of the coalition's 54 members attended the emergency meeting at around 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Marco Polo Hotel in Ortigas.

Defensor said no consensus was reached during the meeting. Another meeting will be called on July 2 to include other members who were not present Wednesday.

He hinted that the coalition, which had agreed to vote as a bloc, might break apart because of this development.

"Eto na ba ang simula ang pagbagsak ng coalition? Wala na ba kaming samahan? Kasi nga hindi simple yung pagpirma as president. That was really against any of the agreements that we have," he said.

(Is this the start of the coalition's breakup? Signing that manifesto was really against any of our agreements.)

Defensor said it was unfair for Romero to express support for Velasco without getting the consensus of the coalition.

"Ngayon etong ginawa netong ni Congressman Mikee Romero as president, kung ginawa na sana na individual preference nya 1Pacman, walang problema. But to speak for the party-list bloc is unfair to us. Unfair yun, that was illegal and there was no basis for that," Defensor said.

(Had Romero expressed support for Velasco as his individual preference, there would be no problem. But it's unfair to us for him to speak for the party-list bloc. That was unfair, illegal and there was no basis for that.)

Romero was elected to lead the party-list coalition of 54 members shortly after the elections in May. The coalition had announced that it will vote as a bloc for the Speakership.

Aside from Velasco, other candidates for Speakership in the 18th Congress are Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales.(Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)


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