President Duterte “comfortable” with all House Speaker nominees, won’t make endorsement, says Panelo

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech after administering the oath to the newly elected local government officials and party-list representatives during a ceremony at the Malacañan Palace on June 25, 2019. ROBINSON NIÑAL JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO


(Eagle News) – President Rodrigo Duterte is “comfortable with any of the candidates” for the House Speakership as all of them are his “political allies,” according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

In a statement, Panelo said that President Duterte would not make any endorsement even as members of the administration party PDP-Laban chose Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as its candidate for House Speaker.

“PRRD (Duterte’s initials) is comfortable with any of the candidates securing the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives because they are all his political allies,” Panelo said.

He said that it was “simply not the character” of the President to endorse a particular House Speaker nominee, and would rather leave this decision to the members of the Lower House.

-Panelo: Playing politics, not the President’s style –

“The Chief Executive would rather focus on the business of governance rather than play politics and ruffle the feelings of those outside his preferred choice. The latter is simply not the character and style of the Chief Executive,” Panelo said.

“President Duterte is confident that the next Lower House leader would shepherd his legislative agenda for the nation’s best interest and the people’s general welfare,” his statement said.

Panelo said that Malacanang is “optimistic that the members of Congress know and will vote for the candidate whom they think and believe can give them excellent stewardship in legislating policies and measures that will deliver positive and genuine change for our people.”

Aside from the PDP-Laban nominee Velasco, the other House Speaker aspirants are Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Davao del Norte Rep. and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte was asked to endorse the PDP Laban candidate for House Speakership, but he later decided not to play politics and would just let the members of the House elect who they feel is the rightful Speaker who will lead them.