With more than a month before the lower chamber elects its new Speaker, a senior lawmaker on Thursday said the chamber should have “a new and young” leader.
Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza of Buhay said he will vote for someone new and with the potential for the speakership race in the House leadership race.
“In the choice for Speaker, I choose a new name. I want a new name, I want a younger Speaker, I want somebody with potential,” he added.
“The people all over the land as gleaned from results of election both local and national want new faces and new solutions for our continuing problems in the country…[and the] Congress no exception,” Atienza said.
Atienza said he believes newly elected members of the 18th Congress will go for a younger Speaker.
“Otherwise, year in, year out, decades here and decades there, where are we? We’re nowhere. We’re moving backwards. We have to move forward,” he said.
The Party-list Coalition is expected to name its bet for the speakership race next week along with the Visayan bloc. These two powerful groups are expected to do a bloc voting during the speakership election next week.
The Party-list Coalition has 61 members and the Visayan bloc has 47 members. At least 153 votes are needed to secure the speakership position.
On Tuesday, Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles of Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta said the party-list bloc is narrowing its choices between Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez in the fight for the speakership.
It is the first time that Velasco will run as a Speaker, while Romualdez already ran but lost against former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. during the 15th Congress.
Velasco’s speakership bid is backed by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and a powerful business magnate.
According to Nograles, party-list congressmen have decided to narrow down their choices to Velasco and Romualdez because they believe that they are the only ones who are truly serious in the bid for the speakership.
Meanwhile, other candidates for the speakership race are Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte, Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig City and Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. of Pampanga.