Duterte "comfortable" with any of the bets vying for speakership - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte is "comfortable" with any of the candidates vying for the Speaker of the House because they are his political allies, Malacanang said on Wednesday.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo reiterated Duterte's "neutral stand" on the speakership.
"The President yesterday made clear his position that he would leave the choice for speakership to the capable hands of the members of Congress and will not endorse a particular individual for the position. May the best and most competent aspirant win," he said.
"PRRD (Duterte) is comfortable with any of the candidates securing the seat of the Speaker of the House of Representatives because they are all his political allies," said Panelo, also chief presidential legal counsel.
Those vying to be Speaker are Taguig City Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
Panelo said Duterte's Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) has authorized Senator Emmanuel Pacquiao to announce the political party's bet for Speaker.
In a gathering on Wednesday, Pacquiao announced that the ruling PDP-Laban is supporting Velasco's bid.
"President Duterte is confident that the next Lower House leader would shepherd his legislative agenda for the nation's best interest and the people's general welfare," Panelo said.
He said the Palace is optimistic the members of Congress know and will vote for the candidate whom they think and believe can give them "excellent stewardship in legislating policies and measures that will deliver positive and genuine change for our people."
He added Duterte would rather focus on the business of governance rather than play politics and ruffle the feelings of those outside of his preferred choice.
"The latter is simply not the character and style of the Chief Executive," Panelo said.
The new 18th Congress will start on July 22. Celerina Monte/DMS