PDP-Laban to choose among Alvarez, two others for Speaker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) — Ruling party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) will be choosing among incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez and two other lawmakers to be nominated as House Speaker in the 18th Congress.

PDP-Laban President Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III told reporters Tuesday also up for possible nomination are Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales for the speakership.

“We will have rules on how to choose, kung sino mapili. Kung meron magrerebelde, we have to kick them out of the party. Strikto na kami ngayon,” Pimentel said.

[Translation: We will have rules on how to choose and who would be chosen. If anyone would rebel, we have to kick them out of the party. We are strict now.]

Alvarez was formally kicked out as House Speaker by a PDP-Laban majority after President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address, despite calls from Pimentel to back the Davao del Norte lawmaker.

Lawmakers have attributed his political downfall to Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, whom Alvarez has angered after he reportedly called her part of the opposition for establishing the regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Some PDP-Laban members in the House aligned themselves with Hugpong after Alvarez’ ouster as Speaker.

Alvarez has said that he wants to give the speakership another shot, confident he has the numbers to regain the gavel.

Aside from Alvarez, Velasco and Gonzales, other possible contenders for the speakership are Taguig Representaive -elect Alan Peter Cayetano and re-electionist Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.

Around 80 lawmakers from PDP-Laban have been elected into the House, emerging as the majority party in the chamber.