Adding an unexpected twist to an already confusing Speakership race, the PDP Laban Party has decided to issue a direct ultimatum to President Rodrigo Duterte before they accept his request for a term sharing deal between Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and the party’s nominee, Marinduque Rep. Lord Velasco.
According to a statement released by Sen. Koko Pimentel, they are willing to accept the President’s proposal but only if they get to go first.
“To help settle the issue of House Speakership which has been dragging for a considerable period of time, the PDP LABAN which is the majority party is open to the idea of term sharing, provided its nominee Cong. Lord Velasco goes first since he already has an overwhelming number of members of Congress supporting him.”
This is contrary to the statements earlier made by the President where he said Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first fifteen months. And Velasco serving out the last twenty one.
The veiled threat from Pimentel is a stunning, though not altogether unexpected reversal from the earlier pronouncements of the party’s leaders, including Sen. Manny Pacquiao, who vowed to respect President Duterte’s decision on the matter of the choosing the next House Speaker.
With this development, questions are now being raised as to the future of PDP Laban as an effective partner of the Duterte administration in pursuing its legislative agenda for the next three years. Especially in the light of their leaderships consistent rejection of the President, who also happens to be the party’s highest ranking member.