Unity, economic recovery top agenda of new House
MANILA, Philippines — Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, gunning to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives, vowed to prioritize legislation promoting the next administration’s unity agenda and economic recovery in the 19th Congress, which will convene on July 25.
The 57-year-old Romualdez, a cousin of presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr., appears to have cemented his bid for the speakership after the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), one of the biggest blocs in the chamber, endorsed his bid to become the 13th Speaker of the House, which was restored in 1987.
NPC secretary general and ex-Batangas Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza, Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit, and Quezon Rep Mark Enverga presented to Romualdez on Sunday a party manifesto saying Romualdez would “definitely bring the House of Representatives to new and greater heights under a common goal of unity toward economic and moral recovery, social justice and the rule of law.”
154 votes to win
NPC further stated in the manifesto, “We firmly believe that Hon. Romualdez has the experience and aptitude that will effectively unify the House of Representatives in the passage of important and crucial legislative reforms for the country and the Filipino people under the administration of Ferdinand Marcos Jr.”
To win the speakership, Romualdez needs to muster 154 votes from 243 congressional representatives and 63 party-list representatives, or a total of 306 members of the House.
Most, if not all, of the 243 district representatives have already been proclaimed by local election officials, while the Commission on Elections (Comelec) said it would proclaim this week at least some of the party-list candidates who are certain to have won seats in the House.
Party-list legislators comprise the second-largest bloc (45 seats) in the current House, next to the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) with 51 seats, and will likely maintain that position in the next regular session.
On Saturday, Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), which has 24 seats in the current House, met with leading members of Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), to secure their support.
Sixty of the party-list lawmakers present at the meeting signed a manifesto of support for Romualdez.
Aside from Lakas-CMD, NPC and PCFI, Romualdez had earlier secured the support of the PDP-Laban, Nacionalista Party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Liberal Party, National Unity Party and an unclear number of independents.
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