MANILA A partylist lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Thursday said the 54-strong Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) will play a very crucial role in the election for the next Speaker, especially in a free-for-all race for the post.
In an interview over a television talk show, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Partylist Representative Jericho Nograles pointed out that the PCFI now constitutes the second biggest political bloc in the House of Representatives, next only to the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) which has 95 members.
If PCFI will act as one bloc in the event of a free-for-all in the fight for the Speakership, it would definitely play a very crucial role on who would be the next Speaker in the 18th Congress, Nograles said.
But by the looks of it, congressmen who want to be the next Speaker really have to slug it out because any electoral race boils down to a numbers game, he added.
In the meantime, the Nacionalista Party (NP) has 37 members, the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) has 33, the National Unity Party (NUP) has 28, the Liberal Party (LP) has 18, Lakas-NUCD has five, the Makabayan bloc has six, and 16 belong to other parties, or are independents.
The partylist lawmaker admitted though that the PCFI, which is headed by 1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Michael Romero, has not yet decided on the matter about the Speakership.
But our group would definitely support a candidate who can support legislation being pushed by our respective partylists, Nograles said.
He likewise said that PCFI would definitely use its strength in numbers to ensure that its members are no longer treated as second-class citizens and are given key positions in the House leadership.
The PCFI is hoping to get at least 20 percent of the chairpersonships of all standing committees and special committees, as well as in the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) and the Commission on Appointments (CA), Nograles said.
On claims that lawmakers who are vying for the speakership are buying the loyalties of their peers for PHP500,000 to PHP1 million each, the lawmaker from Davao said that he is not aware of this.
No one has tried to buy my vote," Nograles said. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency