Two lawmakers defend Romualdez’s attendance at 2023 WEF with Marcos
MANILA, Philippines — There is nothing wrong with Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez joining President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
For several lawmakers, Romualdez’s participation in the WEF together with his cousin Marcos only shows cooperation between branches of government.
Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales on Monday echoed Marcos’ reasons for bringing Romualdez with him to the WEF, saying there are legislative concerns that would require answers from members of Congress.
Romualdez’s attendance at the Davos summit was criticized by progressive groups, but Marcos said the Speaker can address legislative concerns raised by business leaders at the forum.
“There is nothing wrong for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to invite and for the Speaker to accept his invitation to join him in his visits. The President obviously wants him there so that a leader of Congress could immediately answer legislation-related questions,” Gonzales said in a statement.
“This tack has proven effective in addressing domestic concerns, as it calls for the collaboration of all sectors. The presence of the Speaker in presidential trips is proof of the cooperation and partnership of the executive and legislative branches of government,” he added.
This cooperation between the legislative and the executive branches would allow the government to address possible roadblocks in attracting business and making the country a conducive place for investment.
Both Gonzales and Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said that it would be good for the Philippines if world leaders and businesspeople see a strongly-coordinated legislative and executive branches of government as it would mean easier way to invest and do business.
Barbers also said in a separate statement that Romualdez’s presence at WEF is a concrete proof of the unity that the government is trying to promote.
Gonzales continued: “No investor in his right mind would sink his money in a nation with a fractious national leadership.”
“The President’s job of convincing foreign businessmen to invest here would be easier if he impresses them with a government that is acting as one in welcoming them. Congratulations President Marcos and Speaker Romualdez,” according to Barbers.
In an interview with reporters in Davos last Friday (Manila time), Marcos defended Romualdez amid questions on why the Speaker is even needed to accompany the President in the 2023 WEF.
Aside from Romualdez, other lawmakers who joined Marcos in Davos were former president and now Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Senator Mark Villar.
Marcos’ son, Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Marcos, who is currently Ilocos Norte 1st District congressman, likewise joined him in the Switzerland trip.
“That’s easy to answer. For example, the Speaker needs to be here and that also includes Senator Mark Villar, because we have to present members of the legislature because (of) all of these changes in policy that we are talking about,” Marcos said last Friday.
“Let’s say you talk to a potential investor, and they will say ‘your laws are not good, it hampers our business, and it’s not a good law, et cetera, et cetera’. So at least we have the legislators here who can say: ‘Well, we can do something about it or no, that is important to us that we maintain it, et cetera, et cetera’. Because legislation is an important part of what we are doing,” he added.
Romualdez, first cousin of Marcos from the maternal side, has been a constant fixture in the Chief Executive’s foreign trips. The Speaker was with the President when the latter visited New York last September 2022 for the United Nations General Assembly, and during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit in Cambodia last November 2022.
Marcos further noted that they are lucky to have Arroyo on board with them.
Arroyo attended the WEF back when she was president in 2007.
“So there’s always a legislator. And in the case of former president GMA, we’re lucky to have her onboard,” Marcos added.