Visayan bloc for one bet

THE 47-member Visayan Bloc has decided to support a common candidate for speaker of the incoming 18th Congress.

According to convenor of the organization Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, the 46 solons from the Visayas region agreed to have only one candidate.

The group yesterday held a closed-door meeting to discuss the issue as well as other concerns of the group to be brought up to the new leadership.

Of the five candidates, only Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez comes from the Visayas region.

Benitez said the group will meet again next month to make its final decision on who to support in the speakership race.

The Visayan Bloc membership in the next Congress is expected to increase from the current 41 to at least 47 members coming from various political parties and party-list organizations.

“The Visayan Bloc has demonstrated how unity works in the pursuit of common legislative agenda for the Visayas region.  Unanimity in purpose will be our way of choosing the next speaker,”  Benitez said.

However, the outgoing chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development admitted that some members of the organization might toe the party line of his or her political party in voting for the next speaker.

“But Visayan Bloc members vowed to take a united stand in choosing who will lead the Lower House in the next Congress,” Benitez stated.

The other candidates for speaker are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.