Leaders of four major blocs at the House of Representatives have signed a manifesto expressing support for the speakership bid of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.
The multi-party manifesto was released as the ruling PDP-Laban party also announced that it has picked Velasco as their nominee for Speaker in the upcoming 18th Congress.
Among the signatories of the manifesto are Interim National Executive Vice President of PDP-Laban Pampanga Representative Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales, Party-list Coalition president 1-PACMAN party-list Representative Michael Romero, Rizal Representative Michael John Duavit and Valenzuela Representative Weslie Gatchalian for the Nationalist People's Coalition, and Ilocos Sur Representative-elect Kristine Singson-Meehan for the Northern Luzon Alliance.
"We are firmly convinced that Representative Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco is imbued with the leadership qualities to steer and unite the entire House of Representatives in the passage of crucial legislative reforms in support of the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte in order to safeguard the country's economic gains and social progress," the manifesto shared to GMA News Online reads.
"Further, we believe that Representative Lord Allan Jay Q. Velasco is the best choice to lead the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress given his experience, competence and strong camaraderie with his colleagues in the House of Representatives," it added.
The signatories of the manifesto also rejected the term sharing situation earlier revealed by another Speaker candidate Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano.
"We believe that the Speaker should serve a full term to completely realize his Excellency's legislative agenda," the manifesto reads.
They likewise called on their allies and colleagues at the House to also express their support for Velasco.
Sought for comment, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, NPC senior member and adviser, said the party has yet to decide on who they will support for House Speaker.
"My political party has yet to decide and formally announce our support," he said in a message to reports.
He added the matter is "not supposed to be made public yet pending consultations."
Velasco is only one of the three lawmakers from the party who is aspiring to hold the highest position in the House of Representatives in the next Congress, the other two being Gonzales and Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, himself a former Speaker.
They and Cayetano are expected to go head to head against another Speaker aspirant Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez of Lakas.
PDP-Laban members earlier asked Duterte, the party’s chairman, to endorse their candidate for House Speaker but the President preferred to stay out of the matter. — with Amita Legaspi/ RSJ, GMA News