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Top House post in bag

Aside from Macapagal-Arroyo, President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP Laban and other major political parties declared their support



Members of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. which is a major force at the House of Representatives declared support to Majority Leader Martin Romualdez as Speaker for the 19th session of Congress. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF Lakas-CMD

After the nation proves to be en route to having a majority President and Vice President in Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio, respectively, the House is booked for a predominant Speaker in Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez.

Romualdez received the endorsement yesterday of her only potential rival for the top House post, former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Aside from Macapagal-Arroyo, President Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP Laban and other major political parties on Saturday declared their support to the House Majority Leader for the Speakership of the 19th Congress.

PDP Laban president and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said the ruling party including 62 newly-elected congressmen, are supporting Romualdez, saying that his “track record speaks for itself.”

Cusi particularly mentioned how Romualdez ushered the enactment of pandemic-related bills, including the Bayanihan Laws and the Covid-19 Vaccination Program Act of 2021.

The Department of Energy chief expressed confidence that through Romualdez, the Duterte administration’s legacy would push through even beyond Duterte’s term.

Macapagal-Arroyo, in a statement, urged partymates in Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) to back Romualdez’s speakership bid.

“I will be returning to the House on 30 June 2022,” Macapagal-Arroyo, who ran unopposed in her bailiwick, said.

“I would therefore like to advise the members of the Lakas-CMD that I am throwing my support for Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to be elected as House Speaker in the next Congress. I urge all members of our party to do the same,” she urged.

Lakas stalwarts

Macapagal-Arroyo and Romualdez currently serve as Lakas-CMD’s chair emeritus and president, respectively. Presumptive vice-president Sara Duterte-Carpio is the party’s chairperson and the highest government official in the party.

Romualdez is the cousin of presumptive president Marcos Jr. and nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

He also served as the national campaign manager of the Marcos-Duterte tandem in the 2022 elections, which resulted in the duo’s landslide victory.

Arroyo reminded her partymates of her long-standing alliance with Romualdez.

“Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and I have been working together for decades in a joint effort to do our best to serve the Filipino people,” she said.

“Since 2010, our partnership involved service as fellow members of the House of Representatives,” she added.

This was not the first time that Arroyo backed Romualdez in his bid for the key legislative post.

She endorsed him in 2019, the same year Romualdez garnered enough support from lawmakers to secure the speakership.

However, President Duterte entered the picture and offered Romualdez the Majority Leader post after the former brokered a term-sharing deal between Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Nacionalistas offer backing

Romualdez also earned the backing of the Manny Villar-led Nacionalista Party (NP), as announced by Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar, saying that the lawmaker would be a “vital cog” in the incoming Marcos Jr. administration.

“His outstanding performance as Majority Floor Leader of the 18th Congress shepherding vital legislation and building consensus and harmony among the diverse members of the House make him well-suited for the Speakership,” Villar said.

Deputy Speaker Camille Villar is the daughter of NP president Manny Villar.

Aside from PDP Laban and NP, Romualdez revealed that he also secured the backing of members of other major political groups like the National Unity Party (NUP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP), Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino (LDP) and Davao region-based Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HnP).

In a gathering on Saturday at Chef Jesse in Rockwell, Makati City, Romualdez told members of the House in the next Congress that he would do his best to push for the incoming administration’s agenda and to serve his colleagues and their constituents well.

He also promised House members that he would continue to be a consensus-builder, as he has always been as Majority Leader, and to treat them fairly and listen to the views of all.

In the same meeting, the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) expressed its support to Romualdez for the Speakership, even as it announced that Ako Bicol Partylist Representative Elizaldy Co would be taking over the group’s helm.

PCFI is the biggest political bloc in the lower chamber of Congress.

The House of Representatives elects its Speaker at the commencement of each congressional session. Lawmakers usually support whoever has the backing of the President.

Romualdez had said he will be honored to accept all endorsements.

“We leave it to the sound judgment of the House members,” he added.

Romualdez was elected for three straight three-year terms, from 2007 to 2016, then returned for a fresh term in 2019, taking over from his wife, Yedda Marie Romualdez, who is now a Representative of Tingog Partylist.

Romualdez is the first cousin of Marcos Jr. He is the son of former ambassador and Leyte governor Benjamin Romualdez, the younger brother of former First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.