Paolo Duterte Denies Interest In House Leadership Post

Davao City 1st District congressman-elect Paolo Z. Duterte has debunked speculations that he wants to be Speaker of the House of Representatives.

“Pwede ba tubag ani:? Pulong to President Duterte: I did not say I want to be Speaker…may nagkamali na naman bulong sa tenga mo Mr. President (Can I reply to this:? Pulong to President Duterte: I did not say I want to be Speaker…someone wrongly whispered it to you, Mr. President),” Paolo said in his Facebook post on Monday evening after President Rodrigo Duterte offered to resign if his son bids for the House speakership.

Paolo’s name emerged among the several lawmakers who reportedly expressed interest for the House speakership. Among them are Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, reelected Davao del Norte’s 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Loren Legarda of Antique is also reportedly being eyed for the speakership although she already denied being interested in the position.

During the oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed officials on Monday, President Duterte said Paolo is being urged to run by a certain group of advisers.

“If you run for speakership, let me know. Kasi kung tatakbo ka, mag-resign ako. Kasi marami na tayo. Diyan yung kapatid mo mayor, tapos (If you run for speakership, let me know. If you run, I will resign because we are too many. Your sister is mayor, then) quite really for someone who’s so uneasy about these things. Though I think it’s democratic practice. Hayaan mo yang tao kung sino gusto nila (Leave it to people who they want for the post),” Duterte said.

The President said he never talked about politics with his children, except with Mayor Sara with whom he asked to be his running-mate as vice mayor of Davao City in 2007 because he was positioning her as his successor for mayor.

“If he (Paolo) insists on running, maniwala siya sa mga advisers niya (if he listens to his advisers), go ahead. Let me know three days in advance before you make the announcement and I will tender my resignation,” the elder Duterte said.

The President admitted that before the elections, Cayetano and Velasco had expressed interest for the speakership.

“Yun lang dalawa ang kausap ko (They are the only two with whom I spoken with),” he added.

“Ngayon puro ko sila (Cayetano and Velasco) kilala, puro ko sila kaibigan (they’re both my friends). I have nothing against them. Fine, guys. We nurtured the best of friendship,” Duterte said.

The President said he did not give his commitment because “there is no way of telling you will win.”

After the elections, Duterte said Alvarez talked to him but he has not also committed anything.

The President assured he would be neutral on the speakership issue. (PNA)