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PIA Press Release

PGMA takes direct hand to resolve brewing squabble over Speakership

Manila (3 February) -- Taking a direct hand in resolving the brewing squabble over the speakership, in her capacity as head of the administration coalition in the House of Representatives, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo will preside over a caucus of coalition leaders starting at 10 a.m. tomorrow (Monday) in Malacanang.

Press Secretary and Presidential Spokesman Ignacio R. Bunye, who made the announcement, also said that the President met shortly after noon today with Lakas stalwarts at the Malacanang Golf Club on the speakership issue.

The "idea (of holding the caucus) was to get the sentiment" of the coalition leaders, with the objective of coming up with a consensus on the issues," Bunye said.

He added that the President decided to invite the leaders of the administration parties to a caucus on the suggestion of House Majority Floorleader Art Defensor and House Deputy Speaker Simeon Datumanong.

The "over-riding concern" of tomorrow's caucus is to "have an amicable settlement of the (speakership) issue," Bunye explained.

He said that "after discussing the forthcoming Lakas directorate meeting scheduled on February 7 the attendees (of today's meeting) also decided to tackle a prejudicial question the matter of the speakership."

It was "agreed that the matter can best be settled through a caucus of leaders of administration coalition parties the Lakas, Kampi, NPC, LP, NP, LDP, PDSP, and Party List," he said, adding that each administration coalition partner will have "more or less four" representatives in tomorrow's meeting.

"One of the modes which could possibly be discussed tomorrow is straw voting," Bunye said.

The President did not join the nine-hole game led by former President Fidel V. Ramos and Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. but she later presided over the three-hour meeting of the coalition leaders that started at 12:15 p.m.

The meeting was also attended by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Senator Miguel Zubiri, Rep. Mat Defensor, Rep. Ed Zialcita, League of Cities president Benhur Abalos, ULAP president Ramon Guico; Cabinet Secretaries Peter Favila, Margarito Teves, and Bunye; and party adviser Gabriel Claudio.

The theme of the Feb. 7 Lakas directorate meeting is "Securing the Enduring Legacy of the Party in Pushing the March Towards Economic Progress and Prosperity," Bunye said. (OPS) [top]

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