Duterte tells Paolo: Vie for speakership, I'll resign

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not backing any single speakership bid, least of all his eldest son's.

"Sa speakership, wala akong kinakampihan. I am [in] my last 3 [years]. Gusto ko lang to do good and if that good is not good for everybody, well I'm sorry. 'Yan lang ang makaya ko," he said on Monday, May 27, during the oathtaking of government officials in Malacañang.

(For the speakership, I'm not taking any sides. I am in my last 3 years. I just want to do good and if that good is not good for everybody, well, I'm sorry. That's all I can give.)

Even his son Paolo, who just won as Davao City 1st District representative, can't count on his support for the speakership. Duterte said he's heard of clamor for Paolo to lead the lower chamber, but claims to be so opposed to it that he would "resign" from the presidency.

"Itong si Paolo, sabihin ko sa kanya, if you run for speakership, let me know. Kasi kung tatakbo ka, magre-resign ako," said Duterte.

(This Paolo, let me tell him, if you run for speakership, let me know. Because if you run, I will resign.)

"If he insists on running, if he believes in his advisers, go ahead. Let me know 3 days in advance before you make the announcement and I will tender my resignation," added the President.

One reason why he opposes his own son's speakership bid? Duterte said it doesn't look good for his family to dominate so many government posts. (READ: Victory for all 3 Duterte children in Davao City)

"But then again, with the vice mayor, anak ko, 'yung youngest son ko si Baste, and Pulong as Speaker, ako ang Presidente, hindi na maganda tingnan," said Duterte.

(But then again, with the vice mayor, my youngest son Baste, and Pulong as Speaker, me as President, it wouldn't look good.)

Paolo took to Facebook to deny he is gunning for the speakership.

"I did not say I want to be Speaker.... May nagkamali na naman [ng] bulong sa tenga mo, Mr President (Someone gave you the wrong information again, Mr President)," he said.

Hopeful for Duterte support

Duterte bared that his former running mate Alan Peter Cayetano and his family friend Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco had spoken with him about their speakership bids before the May elections.

Davao del Norte 1st District Representative-elect Pantaleon Alvarez and Leyte 1st District Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, had sent feelers to Duterte or mentioned their bids in passing after the elections.

Duterte said he didn't give his commitment to Cayetano or Velasco.

"I didn't give my commitment because I said, I will not because there is no way of telling you will win," he said.

Alvarez, meanwhile, had let "slide" that it "might be good to be there (speakership)" to Duterte.

The Chief Executive ultimately did not give his commitment to the former speaker either, claiming he did not have enough support in the House.

"Palingo-lingo lang rin ako (I was noncommittal) because I do not have really the numbers," said Duterte.

The House, however, is dominated by Duterte's allies. Alvarez had served as the first House speaker under the Duterte presidency before he was ousted and replaced with former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Alvarez is also the secretary-general of Duterte's national political party, PDP-Laban. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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