MANILA - Members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet are keeping their hands off the heated race for Speaker of the House of Representatives just as the chief executive has kept his promise not to endorse any candidate for the post, Malacañang said Friday.
Claims that members of the Duterte Cabinet were meddling in the speakership race are “not true,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.
Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza earlier claimed that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez is backing Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano's speakership bid, after other allies in the chamber thumbed down his proposed term-sharing scheme. Dominguez had denied meddling in the Speakership race.
“The President has maintained his position that he will not intrude in the speakership contest. Reports saying that members of the Cabinet are meddling are certainly not true,” Panelo told reporters Friday.
“The President already made a stand on the Speaker role. Hence, it behooves the members of the Cabinet to toe the line. That is the position of the President,” he said.
Duterte has distanced himself from the speakership race given that all of the top contenders are his allies and friends.
Top competitors for the speakership are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, fielded by Duterte's PDP-Laban party, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's former top diplomat and failed 2016 running mate.
Duterte’s son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, has also expressed his intent to join the speakership race.
The development prompted regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), led by his sister Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, to endorse Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab for Speaker.