Malacañang advised the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) to conduct secret balloting among its members to determine their pulse for the House speakership race.

“What they should do, I think, the PDP should — what they should do is to have a secret balloting and get the sentiments of the members. And who gets the highest, di iyon ang ano ang magiging manok nila (should be their bet),” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said in a briefing.

Panelo, also Chief Presidential legal counsel, reiterated President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s plan to not interfere in the race for the lower House’s top post.

“The President will not interfere. He never endorsed, di ba? (right?),” he said.

President Duterte is the chairman of the PDP-Laban.

Political analyst and University of the Philippines political science professor Ranjit Rye earlier said the race for the House speakership is crucial in pushing for the legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.

Rye said the tight House speakership race shows the passion of the Duterte administration allies to serve the country.

Some of the names floated to replace outgoing House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are former foreign affairs secretary and incoming Taguig City-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, former House Speaker and current Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez. (PNA)