FLOIRENDO AS HOUSE SPEAKER A BIG HIT AMONG LAWMAKERS
“In the 18th Congress, we will be all at par. The Speaker is not the boss of the congressmen. We are colleagues. There is no boss, no minions.”
By ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. is as serious as President Rodrigo Duterte’s will to serve the Filipinos until the end of his term.
For this, Floirendo has gained the support of lawmakers to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
In a statement on Thursday, April 11, Floirendo said his announcement that he is seeking the post of Speaker in the 18th Congress has stirred interests among many lawmakers of the Lower House.
‘After I declared my interest, many of my colleagues called me up asking if I am serious about it,” said Floirendo.
“I told them I am as serious as the President’s adamant will to improve the lives of the Filipino by 2022.After hearing that, they said that they will support me,” Floirendo said.
Although Floirendo has been serving his district in Congress for many years, he admits this would be the first time he would throw himself into the center stage of the House.
“I have been a politician half my life and I never ever aspired for any national position. I’d rather be on the backseat than up front. Many of my colleagues know that,” Floirendo said.
“But this time around, it’s a different scenario” he said.
‘I am calling on my fellow Filipino lawmakers, regardless of political and ideological affiliations, let us work as one in serving the people,” Floirendo urged.
Floirendo as House Speaker is a cinch. He has a long friendship with the President and is one of the biggest contributors to the Duterte presidential run in the 2016 elections. President Duterte’s ruling party Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan (PDP/Laban) also controls the House.
Floirendo is running under the banner of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP), the Davao regional political party of presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. In the May 13 elections, Floirendo was expected to parry off with ease the challenge to his reelection by a token challenger, Vic Governor Alan Dujali of the PDP/Laban/Alvarez Wing of deposed House Speaker Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. President Duterte has endorsed the reelection bid of Floirendo.
But Floirendo said he would not force himself into the President to help him get the House plum post.
“We both respect the separation of powers (between the legislative and the executive),” said Floirendo.
“But if (President Duterte) will give me a chance to serve I will always be grateful and will make sure I will do my duty to unite the Lower House. But I ask my fellow lawmakers in the coming 18th Congress to join hands with me in ensuring that the Duterte administration gets the full support he needed from the legislative department,” Floirendo said.
Floirendo assured that as House Speaker, he would support to the full the President and his administration.
“I know that we all wanted what is good for the President and ultimately what is good for the Filipino people,” he said.
He said he would do this without reservations or for anything in return.
“When I give my support, I give it my 100%. I asked nothing after President Duterte won,” Floirendo said.
Floirendo said that when President Rodrigo Duterte decided to run for President in 2016, he broke political ties with then Vice President Jojo Binay, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate for president, to “fully back my fellow Dabawenyo.”
He also said that “I did not ask anything when I was being persecuted by the House leadership under Alvarez.”
Before Alvarez was ousted in a House coup in July last year, the then sitting Speaker hounded Floirendo with a graft case before the Ombudsman, initiated a House inquiry into a joint venture agreement between the Bureau of Corrections and the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) covering the reservation area of the Davao Penal Colony in Davao del Norte. Alvarez, a longtime friend of Floirendo, is also said to have deleted congressional development funds for Floirendo’s district in the 2018 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“In (the 18th) Congress, we (will be) all at par. The Speaker is not the boss of the congressmen. We are colleagues. There is no boss, no minions. All Filipino lawmakers. And all wanting to serve their constituents,” Floirendo said.