Davao lawmaker eyes Speakership

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Incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of PDP-Laban on Wednesday expressed confidence that he can wrestle the Speakership away from Quezon City’s Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of the Liberal Party (LP).

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In a news conference held in Midas Hotel, Alvarez boasted that least 80 incoming members of the House of Representatives are set to join PDP-Laban–the political party of the presumptive President, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

Moreover, he disclosed that the party already forged a coalition with other political parties previously allied with the LP namely: Nacionalista Party, National Union Party (NUP), the party-list coalition and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC)–the second-largest political party behind the LP.

“They [transferees]are independent candidates, and some from the LP, and maybe from the other parties also who are already members of Coalition for Change. Well, given the coalition with three big political parties, we will have more than enough [to win the Speakership],” Alvarez pointed out.

“I am talking about Nacionalista, NPC, NUP. We are ironing out internal matters with NPC, but practically, we already talked about it. I will be talking with NUP tomorrow. Sa amin na sila [They are on board with us]. I can’t talk about figures, but seeing them in this lunch, I would say they are with us,” he said, referring to the lunch meeting in a hotel on Roxas Boulevard in Manila.

Belmonte earlier said he would still contest the Speakership, considering that most of the incoming members of Congress still belong to the ruling LP of which Belmonte is a vice chairman.

Alvarez, however, is acting the victor this early.

“We will reduce the Minority bloc to a bite-sized one. We [in the Majority]have a lot of things to do to execute the changes that the Duterte administration has promised to the Filipino people. We hope that in the days to come, we will be united in pursuing the legislation needed to effect the necessary changes,” he said.

The Speakership race is decided by a vote among members of the House of Representatives.

The one who will end up with the highest number of votes will be named the Speaker, while the second-highest vote getter will be the House Minority Leader.

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