Who's Duterte's bet for speaker?

Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte and Martin Romualdez
Rep. Romualdez with Pres. Duterte

PRESIDENT Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will make an announcement on June 28, probably on the speakership race, but did not make any endorsement Tuesday night during the gathering of neophyte lawmakers at Malacañang hosted by presidential son and Davao City Representative-elect Paolo “Pulong” Duterte.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin said lawmakers waited for a presidential endorsement for Speakership, but failed to get a direct response from President Duterte.

“Wala pang endorsement. It was purely a social event which the President graced upon the invitation of Congressman Pulong,” said Garbin, one of the attendees, on the dinner arranged by Congressman Duterte to familiarize himself with fellow neophyte legislators who were elected in the incoming 18th Congress. “Pero the President will make an announcement on June 28.”

In his FB post, Congressman Duterte also said that there was no endorsement for speaker that happened Tuesday night.

Masbate Representative-elect Wilton Kho, who also attended the event, confirmed that the President told them about his June 28 announcement.

Asked if the announcement has something to do with the choice for Speaker, Kho said President Duterte did not give details.

“Sabi ng Presidente sa June 28 may sasabihin s’ya sa amin pero ‘di n’ya rin sinabi kung ano ang sasabihin n’ya. Pero kami ine-expect namin na baka ‘yun na ang endorsement n’ya sa speakership,” said Kho.

Garbin also said that President Duterte first told them that the announcement could be made 72 hours before his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22 until he settled on June 28.

He thanked President Duterte for attending the event.

“We were surprised that the President came to the dinner and spent time with us. The new congressmen, as well as the returning ones, appreciated the gesture of the President to welcome us personally in the Palace despite his busy schedule. Ako naman kahit hindi neophyte naimbitahan,” said Garbin.

The frontrunners in the speakership race include Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Taguig-Pateros Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.