Party-list groups voting for speaker as bloc

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Party-list representatives plan to use their votes for the next speaker in getting equal treatment with district congressmen.

AKO BICOL Party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said Thursday in an ambush interview that party-list representatives will vote as a bloc and they will come out with only one candidate to support their speakership bid.

“We no longer want to be treated as second class congressmen. You know each of us has its own constituency and special concerns. We also need to be treated as equal members of the House of Representatives,” said Garbin.

A day after their proclamation from the Commission on Elections, 45 of the winning party-lists joined the first general assembly of the Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) to solidify their force ahead of the election of speaker.

The assembly saw party-list groups declare their plans for the 18th congress and for the coalition, Grabin said.

Coalition members also elected 1-PACMAN Rep. Mikee Romero as their president.

Garbin said half of the party-list coalition was composed of first-termers as 23 out of the 51 party-lists that were proclaimed Wednesday are not sitting in the 17th Congress.

He reiterated that the PCFI has invited all those who expressed interest in getting the speakership post, including Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and returning Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

Garbin also said that they might invite Senator Loren Legarda who also won as Antique representative.

The PCFI intended to give each of the candidate a time to present their legislative agenda for the 18th Congress aside from the discussion of their plans with the party-list groups.

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