Abrigo: Speakership and the political birthright

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DEPENDABLE ally of President Rodrigo Duterte will certainly be the speaker of the 18th Congress. It may be from the top three contenders whom the president refused to pick, or a dark horse endorsed from Mindanao.

From the original six, the selection narrowed down to three: Marinduque representative Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig-Pateros representative Alan Peter Cayetano, and Leyte representative Martin Romualdez. The three aces expect that the president will pick the ripest one among them on the last hour. So, when term sharing was proposed, all of them claimed political birthrights and insistent to sit first, else no to term sharing at all.

There are common blunders overlooked by these patricians while imagining the president’s intervention: First, being mindless that no one among them can represent as Mindanaoan. Second, when the contenders fail to come up with a peaceful agreement, there are supporting actors and actresses that can readily introduce a superb bloke as an option.

Without mentioning the true blue political birthright, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) under the headship of the presidential daughter Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, endorsed Davao city third district representative Isidro Ungab for speakership. Mayor Sara is confident of her pitch and the patriarch Duterte knows it very well. In fact, the president once warned to be careful with Mayor Sara “kaya ni Mayor Sara na magpatanggal ng isang speaker sa Kamara” which was obviously referring to the run-in between former Speaker Alvarez and Mayor Sara. With this thing in mind, I was reminded of another Sara. She was Sarah Vaughan who once sang the song “Whatever Lola Wants Lola Gets” composed by Richard Adler. Most of the traditional politicians (trapo) I guess, even the neophytes in politics must be in coherence to some lines of this song, and should support Ungab.

Will Ungab be the dark horse in the speakership race? Perhaps! Though only few in the congress wedged enough knowledge about Ungab, but Mayor Sara’s endorsement could be a game-changer. From being a banker, Ungab entered politics in 1995 serving as a city councilor of Davao for three consecutive terms. In 2007 he ran for congressman in the third district of Davao and established a record of being unopposed on his third term. He chaired the ways and means and the appropriations committees. As a returning congressman, Ungab accepted the endorsement of the HNP to speakership for the 18th Congress.

Along with the endorsement, HNP also recommended Lord Alan Velasco to chair the appropriations committee; while Alan Peter Cayetano may be chosen as majority leader; and Martin Romualdez can head the accounts committee. With the herculean HNP recommendation, it is akin to instructing the initiatory three musketeers to pack-up and go home, may nanalo na!

If this setup works, the president can have a fail-safe Congress to push through his complete legislative agenda. And when there is an election by 2022, all in this syllabus are preparations for a courteous way to the next president according to the political birthright.



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