Romualdez’s allies hope Duterte won’t meddle in Speaker battle in next Congress
Members of the House minority bloc on Wednesday said they are supporting the Speakership bid of come-backing Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez in the 18th Congress.
This was affirmed by Minority Leader and Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez, Ako Bikol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza during the bloc’s regular briefing.
Suarez said Romualdez, his partymate from the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, was his obvious choice.
However, he said that party membership was not the major factor in his choice.
“Matagal na rin ako dito at medyo alam ko na ang caliber ng mga kasama ko,” he said.
“All of them can be good Speakers, but one of them can be outstanding,” said Suarez, referring to Romualdez.
The outgoing Quezon lawmaker claimed that up to 126 congressmen have expressed their support to Romualdez.
Suarez said among them are his wife Aleta, who will take his place as representative in the 3rd District; his son David Jay Jay, who won in the 2nd District; and daughter Anna Marie of the Alona Partylist.
“I am just talking about present developments, I don’t think the other candidates have circulated a manifesto of support, but the only one I know who has that many endorsement is Congresman Romualdez as of now,” Suarez said.
But despite the endorsements, Garbin expressed wariness over the possibility of a Duterte endorsement.
Garbin recounted 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, only to give way to President Rodrigo Duterte’s reported choice, Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alvarez, who was ousted as Speaker by former president and Pamapanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is gunning for his old positon.
Garbin said that from what he has heard, “all parties have a common denominator,” and that the majority would go to whoever was anointed by the President.
“That’s the reality in the Philippine Congress,” he said.
Suarez believed that Duterte would not meddle in the affairs of the House.
“Ang thinking ko, the President, this is my speculation: that’s the affair of the House. Lalo na ganun sya (That’s the way he is),” Suarez said.
Nonetheless, Suarez, Garbin and Atienza agreed that it is better to wait for developments to unfold rather than engage in speculations.
“Abangan ang susunod na kabanata (Wait for the next chapter),” they said.
Aside from Romualdez and Alvarez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is also aiming to be the next Speaker.
Like Alvarez, Velasco is also from the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan.
Also reported in the running are former Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party and outgoing Sen. Loren Legarda of the Nationalist People’s Coalition. (PNA)