JULY 5, 2019 – Some lawmakers in the House of Representatives led by Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte formed a coalition in a bid to unite the lower chamber.
Members of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) and Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod forged the so-called “Duterte Coalition.”
This includes Representatives Isidro Ungab and Vincent Garcia of Davao City, Corazon Malanyaon of Davao Oriental, Manuel Zamora of Compostela Valley, Lorna Bautista of Davao Occidental, as well as Claudine Bautista of Dumper party-list, Sandro Gonzales and Anton Lopez of Marino party-list.
The coalition also warned Cabinet members who are allegedly lobbying for their own Speakership bet. President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he will not endorse any congressmen in the race.
“It has come to our attention that certain Presidential Cabinet members have their bet for Speaker. Everyone should note that, Cabinet members serve only on the basis of the trust and confidence of the President and should not participate in the selection of the Speaker,” the group said.
Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza reportedly claimed of receiving information that Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez and other cabinet officials were urging the chief executive to back a term-sharing deal.
He also said Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano has the support of Dominguez’s group. Cayetano is a former cabinet member, having served as Foreign Affairs secretary before the 2019 elections.
Cayetano is pitted against PDP-Laban endorsed Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Ungab of HNP, and Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez.
Paolo Duterte also hinted on running for Speaker.
This latest development, however, did not sit well with ACT Teachers Representative France Castro.
“Pangalan pa lang ng koalisyon nila, alam na kung kaninong interes ang kanilang pinaglilingkuran. Iyon ay ang interes ni Pangulong Duterte na lalong palakasin at patagalin ang kaniyang kapangyarihan at mapagpatuloy ang tiraniya sa bansa,” Castro said.
The coalition would only ensure that the “anti-people” policies of the Duterte administration will continue to thrive or be enacted into law.
“We cannot expect the so-called ‘Duterte Coalition’ to serve the interest of the Filipino people. Instead, we can only expect this 18th Congress to be another rubber stamp of the Duterte administration.” Castro said.
Velasco, meanwhile, welcomed the formation of the Duterte coalition.
“I am one with the call and aspirations of the newly-formed coalition and implore my fellow lawmakers in Congress to set aside their personal ambitions and agenda and join the Duterte Coalition so together we can build a House of Representatives that is united and stronger, a House that truly represents the people,” he said.