Political parties reiterate support for Speaker Romualdez’s leadership
MANILA, Philippines — Political parties and key lawmakers from the House of Representatives have reiterated their support for Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez’ leadership, saying that the official has steered the legislative body to unprecedented levels in terms of passing key legislation.
During the deliberation of House Resolution (HR) No. 1414 on Monday — which was discussed by the House as a committee of the whole — representatives of different parties like Nacionalista Party’s Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers vouched for Romualdez’s efforts amid attacks against him and the House.
According to Barbers, the House was able to pass all original priority bills set by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (Ledac) under Romualdez’ efficient leadership.
“The strong leadership of Speaker Romualdez ensures that each and every member of the house are able to perform their duties as duly elected representatives of the people with conviction and pride, as they work on legislation for the betterment of the country,” Barbers said in his speech.
“His strong work ethic and quiet but purposeful leadership is also a valuable asset to the current administration. Under his guidance, the house of representatives was able to pass the general appropriations bill in record time, and passed months ahead of schedule all twenty (20) Ledac priority measures targeted for 2023,” he added.
The passage of the 202 Ledac bills was also mentioned by National Unity Party’s secretary general and Bataan 2nd District Rep. Albert Garcia, who also supported the realignment of confidential funds (CF) under the proposed 2024 national budget to agencies involved in defending the West Philippine Sea.
It could be remembered that former president Rodrigo Duterte’s tirades against the House — calling it the ‘most rotten government organization’ — came after the CF request of the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) were removed.
OVP, which asked for a P500 million CF for 2024, and DepEd made a P150 million request, are both headed by Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
“Under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, the house was able to pass all 20 priority bills identified by the President and the [Ledac] before the year 2023 ends. In addition to this, there have been a significant number of measures crafted to propel economic recovery and continuous development for every sector,” Garcia said.
“We support the move to improve spending efficiency through the realignment of confidential government funds in the proposed 2024 General Appropriations Act to other budget priorities in order to further uphold the President’s socioeconomic agenda and to promote greater budget transparency, openness, and accountability,” he added.
Rizal 1st District Rep. Michael John Duavit of the Nationalist People’s Coalition also said that Romualdez has been a steadfast leader despite attempts to undermine the House’ independence.
“Amidst external noise and attempts to undermine the independence and integrity of the House of Representatives, Speaker Romualdez has remained a strong and steadfast leader, protective of its members, and resolute in his objective towards crafting legislation that is best for the country and its people,” Duavit said.
“He is the best person to lead the lower chamber, and we join his thrust towards for greater transparency, accountability, and support for the government,” he added.
Even the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) — the party chaired by former president Duterte — also assured Romualdez of their continuous support.
“The [PDP-Laban] reaffirms our steadfast support for House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez. We wholeheartedly stand behind his leadership and acknowledge his exceptional performance as evidenced by the substantial increase in his trust ratings from 38% to 60% between 2022 and 2023,” PDP-Laban stalwart and Surigao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Johnny Pimentel said.
“A visionary and activist in equal measure, Speaker Romualdez’ leadership style has truly transformed the House of Representatives into a genuine ‘House of the People’. His commitment to align legislative work with the needs of our fellow filipinos and pro-poor initiatives, is both admirable and inspiring, and reflects the results of these recent surveys,” he added.
More lawmakers like Senior Deputy Speaker and Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe, Minority Leader and 4Ps party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan, PBA party-list Rep. Margarita Nograles of the Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc., ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo, and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco spoke in support of the House and Romualdez.
Eventually, HR No. 1414 was adopted via viva voce.
The said resolution was deliberated on the floor after Romualdez made a speech on the resumption of the 19th Congress’ session. According to the Speaker, he will stand up in favor of the public’s interests, and against anyone who threatens the institution just to get what he or she wants.
Romualdez did not mention anyone who may be behind the attacks against the House, but it could be recalled that during the session break, former president Duterte launched tirades against the chamber and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro.