Duterte dismisses coup rumors in House leadership

Published June 22, 2021, 8:48 PM

by Raymund Antonio

Rumors of a coup in the House of Representatives should be put to rest as President Duterte already told Leyte Rep. and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to leave the Speakership alone and set his sights on the vice presidential post instead.

President Rodrigo Duterte and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez

“Huwag ka na maghabol diyan (Leave that alone),” Duterte purportedly told Romualdez amidst rumors that he wants to overthrow House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

The Chief Executive said this during a speech at the recent Ceremonial Re-enactment of the Signing of Bills in Malacañang.

Duterte added that he is inclined to support Romualdez should the House majority leader decides to run as vice president in the May 2022 polls.

READ: Duterte to support Romualdez if he runs for VP

The President himself is the proponent of the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and former House Speaker and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

In October 2020, Duterte sided with Velasco and asked Cayetano to step aside to fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Although Romualdez thanked the President for his perceived support if he decides to seek the vice presidency next year, he did not specify his political plans next year.

“Currently I am keeping my options open with regard to the 2022 elections,” he said. “As the Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, I am focused on steering the approval of vital legislative measures that the President wishes to be passed before his term ends next year.”

READ: Romualdez on Duterte endorsement for VP: ‘I am keeping my options open’

Reports alleged that Romualdez is staging a coup in the Lower House to take over the Speakership from Velasco since he and his party, Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), want to strengthen their hold in the House.

Romualdez is the current national president of Lakas-CMD while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo serves as president emeritus of the party.

Arroyo and Romualdez, along with the latter’s cousins former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Senator Imee Marcos, were recently seen together in a meeting, but the House majority leader insisted they only met to discuss strategic updates.