Sole nominee Romualdez wins speakership

He signed up for the job in 2019, but ultimately gave way to other speakership aspirants.

House Speaker Martin Romualdez (Lakas-CMD Media)

But Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez's destiny could no longer be denied on Monday, July 25, after he was elected as House Speaker by his congressman-colleagues in overwhelming fashion.

Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), garnered 283 votes in favor of his speakership. Only one House member entered a negative vote, four abstained, while 22 were called but did not enter a vote.

Paving the way for the Visayas solon's victory was his being the sole nominee for the speakership--an usually rare occurrence.

The voting, which took over two hours to finish, was presided by acting House majority leader, Zamboanga City 2nd district Rep. Manuel Jose "Mannix" Dalipe.

llocos Norte 1st district Rep. Sandro Marcos--who formerly worked as staff member of the majority leader's office in the 18th Congress under Romualdez--was the one who nominated his former mentor for the highest post in the chamber.

"The honorable Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez is the most qualified to lead the House of Representatives," said the presidential son.

"We know that it is not an easy feat for a person to listen to and consolidate support from more than 300 elected officials all of whom are leaders in their own right. Yet, Rep. Romualdez seems to have found this balance. He values everyone's opinion and exudes the charm to get everyone to voluntarily and conscientiously with together toward a common goal," Marcos said.

The neophyte congressman further described Romualdez as a known consensus-builder who is liked and respected by most, if not all members of the House.

Batangas 6th district Rep. Ralph Recto, Davao City 3rd district Rep. Isidro Ungab, Antipolo 1st district Rep. Roberto Puno, Las Piñas lone district Rep. Camille Villar, Ilocos Sur 2nd district Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, TUCP Party-list Rep. Democrito Mendoza, and Pampanga 3rd district Rep. Dong Gonzales seconded Marcos's nomination of Romualdez, in that order.

Romualdez takes his oath as the House Speaker of the 19th Congress (Ellson Quismorio/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The seconders represented major political parties in the House, including Lakas-CMD, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Nacionalista Party (NP), National Unity Party (NUP), and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC). The Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI) was also represented.

Following Gonzales's remarks, Dalipe ended the nomination phase for speaker as he noted that there no more nominees. This made Romualdez the sole nominee, and the lengthy nominal voting soon followed.

Romualdez was a strong contender for the speakership back in previous 18th Congress, along with Taguig-Pateros lone district Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Then-President Rodrigo Duterte then brokered a deal between the three where Cayetano and Velasco would share the speakership, while Romualdez would take on the majority leader role. Romualdez held the position for three years.

During that span of time, he took the young Marcos under his wing and trained him on the legislative process.