Romualdez Speakership bid gets support from 126 House members
MANILA, Philippines — Some 126 House members have already backed incoming Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez’s Speakership bid but President Rodrigo Duterte’s choice may still change this, members of the chamber’s minority bloc said Wednesday.
Minority Leader and outgoing Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez said Romualdez from the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats was his choice.
“All of them can be good Speakers, but one of them can be outstanding,” Suarez said during the Minority bloc’s weekly briefing, referring to former Leyte congressman Romualdez.
“I don’t know whether the other candidates have circularized a manifesto of support. Ang alam ko, ang meron lang nakakuha ng ganoon karaming endorsement is congressman Martin Romualdez as of now.”
While Suarez thinks the Chief Executive would not intervene in the affairs of the House, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said most of them would follow Duterte’s choice.
“… All parties have common denominator. Kung sino ang i-annoint ni President Duterte, ‘yun ang naririnig ko ha, dun pupunta ang majority,” Garbin said, recounting how former Davao 1st District Rep. and appointed Cabinet Sec. Karlo Nograles earned the support of around 140 lawmakers at the start of the 17th Congress but eventually gave way to Duterte’s choice, Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Both Suarez and Garbin lamented how this “undermines their independence.”
“But that’s the reality in the Philippine Congress,” Garbin said.
Aside from Romualdez, Alvarez and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco from the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan are also aiming to be the next Speaker.
Former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party and outgoing Sen. Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition have also been reported as possible contenders.
The 17th Congress will adjourn sine die on June 8, while the 18th Congress will open on July 22, the same day that the next Speaker would be elected and Duterte would deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)