Albay Representative Joey Salceda on Wednesday said imposing sanctions on PDP-Laban congressmen who would not support the party's candidate for Speaker, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, was "uncalled for."
In an interview with reporters, Salceda, who is supporting Velasco's opponent Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez, said voting for PDP-Laban's nominee cannot be enforced on its members.
"Those sanctions are uncalled for, unjustified and may go against the best interest of the party," Salceda said.
Ronwald Munsayac, PDP-Laban spokesperson and political affairs head, said in a statement earlier in the day that they expect all their members to support Velasco for speaker.
He said those who will not toe the party decision will face sanction.
"The PDP Laban leadership led by Senator Koko Pimentel believes it is time to put emphasis and value to party discipline. Members of the PDP-Laban who will defy its choice for [Speaker] will be sanctioned," he said.
"As a political party, we will move and act as one. In the process, we are also strengthening the political party system here in the Philippines," he added.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, said sanctions are not their priority now.
“Hindi pa ‘yan napag-uusapan (because) we were focused on the choice for Speaker. “Sanctions” not a priority as of the moment,” he said in a message to reporters.
Salceda, who also claimed that there was no consultation among members on the party's nominee for Speaker, said that imposing sanctions on those who will not vote for Velasco will have "unwanted, negative consequences."
"If those sanctions force some of us to back out the party, then kokonti ang bilang," he said.
"There are several committees there like the Commission on Appointments which is based on the number of the members of the party. Do you want to incur that risk? Obviously that will be bad for PDP-Laban," he added.
According to Salceda, there are around 40 lawmakers from PDP-Laban who are backing Romualdez's bid for speakership, and this figure, he said, cannot simply be overwritten even as their party decided to nominate Velasco to the position.
Salceda said there are so far 178 congressmen who expressed support for Romualdez. —With Amita Legaspi/ LDF, GMA News