As Chairman of the National Unity Party (NUP), I wish to state the following in behalf of the party:
1. Contrary to recent news reports, the National Unity Party will NOT be fielding its own candidate for Speakership of the lower house in the 18th Congress. No one from the NUP has asked majority leader Capiz Representative Fredenil Castro to represent the party in the Speakership race. Cong. Castro has not expressed to the party any interest in running for Speaker.
2. The NUP is in a Coalition Agreement with the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) Party. We are committed to support the candidate for Speaker of the HNP if they choose to endorse one. The idea that NUP will have its own candidate is a hallucination.
3. We believe the next Speaker must be someone who has the competence and proven ability to support and help carry out the programs and policies of the Duterte administration.
4. We supported the HNP when they worked for the election of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker. We believe the HNP provided our country great service by enlisting a former President who has had the highest goverment experience in both the Executive and Legislative branches of Government and has had extensive foregn relations experience as well. Speaker Arroyo commands the respect of every Congressman in the NUP and of course in the House of Representatives.
5. If the HNP chooses not to endorse any Congressman for Speaker, NUP will still NOT have its own candidate for Speaker. We would rather support the candidate who supports President Duterte, has the broadest government experience, and who can eloquently represent the Congress and the country in interactions with foreign counterparts. For these reasons, the NUP leadership is inclined towards former Congressman, former Senator, and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who we believe is someone all Congressmen can look up to, and like Speaker Arroyo, was with President Duterte from the start and has a proven track record.
But it is early in the process, the Congressmen still need to undergo the election process. And the NUP will still await the consultations with the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago which we hope will transpire after the elections. The NUP will heed advice from the HNP on who they believe can best serve the Duterte Administration as Speaker of The House of Representatives.