Paolo Duterte for Speaker? Ask the President, says Sara

MANILA, Philippines – Now that the election dust has settled, there's another name added to the growing list of representatives being floated for the House speakership in the 18th Congress: presidential son Paolo Duterte, who won the seat in the first legislative district of Davao City.

Asked about it, his sister, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, on Tuesday, May 21, refused to answer whether Paolo is interested in the position.

"The question on the interest of [congressman-elect] Paolo Duterte to [vie] for Speaker of the [House of Representatives] should best be addressed by our father because he is the President and our patriarch," Sara said in a statement.

Sara said that while she has a "personal bet" for speakership, she does not "intend to influence Congress" as she is only a city mayor and "not the correct person to endorse someone to be the next Speaker."

"It is best if the newly elected members of the House of Representatives individually decide who among those who are interested to become the next Speaker can truly bring good governance and positive change to congress, to the Filipino people, and to our country," she said.

But even the President himself as well as multiple lawmakers had acknowledged Sara's key role in the ouster of Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker in the 17th Congress. He was replaced by former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Sara had also promoted the speakership bid of two Duterte allies, reelected Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco and incoming Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez in seperate occasions during the campaign.

Both Velasco and Alvarez were among the 7 names floated by the President's party PDP-Laban for the House speakership race.

Six out of those 7 candidates won in the 2019 elections: Velasco, Alvarez, Ronaldo Zamora (San Juan), Alex Advincula (3rd District, Cavite), Bambol Tolentino (8th District, Cavite), and Lucy Torres Gomez (4th District, Leyte). 

Sara on Tuesday declined Alvarez's offer of reconciliation and called the former speaker a "very dangerous, machiavellian individual who does not deserve peace." – Rappler.com