Duterte meets with Pacquiao to discuss PDP-Laban Speaker bet

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte met with Senator Manny Pacquiao on Thursday night, June 13, to discuss who their political party, PDP-Laban, will field as candidate for House Speaker in the next Congress.

The meeting, which took place in Pacquiao's hometown of General Santos City, yielded no final decision from Duterte, the party chairman.

Senator-elect Bong Go, also a PDP-Laban member, said the meeting was for Pacquiao to "consult" Duterte on who will be the party's bet.

"Boss (President Duterte) said he'll get back to [Pacquiao] in the coming days and they will talk," Go said in a message.

Go also said Duterte will be choosing from 3 possible candidates: Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, and Pampanga 3rd District Representative Aurelio "Dong" Gonzales Jr.

Pacquiao, as PDP-Laban campaign manager during the 2019 midterm elections, was delegated by PDP-Laban president Senator Aquilino Pimentel III to announce the party's Speaker bet.

Velasco is believed to be backed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, while Alvarez had been named the first Speaker under a Duterte presidency. He was eventually ousted, with the help of Sara, and replaced by Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Gonzales, up against big names for the speakership, has said his edge lies in his lack of ambition for a higher post in 2022.

Other prominent candidates for Speaker are incoming Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez and incoming Taguig City-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte's running mate in the 2016 elections. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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