MANILA -- Several party-list lawmakers on Wednesday warned that the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) is in danger of collapsing after its president, 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, unilaterally backed the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco without their consent.
In an interview, Anakalusugan party-list Rep.-elect Mike Defensor branded as unfair and illegal the actions of Romero who signed the controversial manifesto using his title as president of the PCFI.
We would like to repudiate in clear terms, the representation of Romero saying that the party-list bloc wholly decided for Velasco. There was no such decision, Defensor said
Hindi napag-usapan 'yan (That was not discussed), unfair, illegal and there is no basis for that. We were talking with some party-list lawmakers and they were very, very disappointed, he added at the sidelines of the all-party caucus held at Seda Hotel Vertis North in Quezon City.
The caucus was led by Leyte Rep.-elect Martin Romualdez in a bid to unite all political parties and influential blocs in the incoming 18th Congress to advance the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Meanwhile, Defensor said there would have been no problem if Romero signed the manifesto of support as his individual preference.
With what happened, he said the PCFI is now placed in a bind.
Will we ratify what he did? Ito na ba and simula ng pagbagsak ng PCFI? Wala na ba kaming samahan? Nasira (Is this the start of the collapse of the PCFI? Do we still have a coalition? It's broken), he said.
To be honest, if it comes to a vote, a different person would win amongst the PCFI members, Defensor said, as he noted that more than 30 party-list lawmakers have expressed support for the Speakership bid of Romualdez.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin also said the PCFI has not yet decided on the candidate it would support for Speaker.
"As far as the coalition is concerned, wala pa kaming na-endorse (we have not endorsed anybody yet)," he said.
"Maybe he signed in his personal capacity but the same cannot be attributed to the collective decision of the members of the coalition," Garbin said.
Fractures also seen in PDP-Laban
On the other hand, the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino�Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is also in danger of fracturing.
In a separate interview at the sidelines of the all-party caucus, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda bared that 40 PDP-Laban lawmakers have expressed their support for Romualdez as Speaker.
Salceda, a member of the ruling party, said they endorsed Romualdez because of his credibility and capability to carry out the reforms of President Duterte.
Ang mas importante dito (What is more important here) is who can deliver the legislative agenda of the President, he said.
Kung bibilangin namin 'yung mga nag-commit din kay Martin ay mga 40 (If we count how many have committed to Martin, it's about 40), so it cannot simply be overwritten by some pronouncement, Salceda said.
The lawmaker also pointed out that party leaders cannot threaten them with sanctions since there was no consultation that happened.
There was no consultation. I mean that's their choice, their choice but as individuals, he said.
The vote that counts is the vote on the floor, not now. I was never consulted about the party candidate for Speakership. There was no consultation, and there is no process for sanctions, Salceda said.
Source: Philippines News Agency