MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte should make good on his promise to resign if his son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, runs for Speaker of the House of Representatives, its majority leader said Thursday.
Duterte on May 27 said he would step down should Paolo run for House Speaker since there are already too many members of their family holding public office. But the younger Duterte, who earlier rejected rumors of a possible speakership bid, said Tuesday he might seek the House leadership in the 18th Congress.
“For the President to be continuously believable, for the President to be continuously respected by the Filipino people he should keep his words,” House Majority Leader Fredenil Castro told ANC.
“If he said before he will resign, he has to resign if Paolo Duterte runs for the speakership,” added the Capiz representative.
Castro, however, acknowledged that the younger Duterte “could be a unifying factor on the splintered and divided House of Representatives.”
“No sensible congressman would not support Congressman Duterte if this would mean a better Congress and a more unified House of Representatives,” he said.
Castro said he backs the Speakership bid of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who “demonstrated his ability to organize or create a very strong coalition that would push forward the legislative agenda of the President.”
Also vying for the Speakership are Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who is backed by the President’s party PDP-Laban and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is endorsed by Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Hugpong is allied with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) led by Romualdez.
The lawmaker “is very vocal of his respect” for Hugpong’s endorsement of Ungab and will “await the guideline or instruction of the President,” said Castro.
Romualdez, he claimed, is backed by a “decent and decisive” number of lawmakers to secure the speakership.
SPEAKERSHIP FOR SALE?
Cayetano and Alvarez earlier claimed that lawmakers are being offered millions of pesos in bribes to secure their votes in the race for Speaker.
“I have not received [any bribe],” said Castro. “In fact, I am waiting so that I can prove whether or not there is giving of money.”
The claims of bribery, he added, “are all hearsay.”