Baton passed? Lord endorses Martin for speakership

Incumbent House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco endorsed on Tuesday, May 17 Majority Leader and Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez as his successor for the top post in the legislative chamber in the upcoming 19th Congress.

BATON PASSED?--Majority Leader Martin Romualdez (left) share a fist bump with Speaker Lord Allan Velasco

Velasco, the Marinduque lone district representative, expressed his support for a Romualdez speakership during their lunch meeting at Shangri-La The Fort in Taguig City.

"I believe that his election as Speaker of the 19th Congress will ensure that the legislative agenda of the incoming administration will be pursued and completed. Majority Leader Romualdez has my support and friendship," Velasco said.

Former Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, incoming Party-list Foundation Coalition Inc. (PCFI) President and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Zaldy Co, senior Deputy Majority Leader and Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla and Ako Bicol Party-list Rep. Alfredo "Pido" Garbin also attended the meeting.

Before the events at the meeting, pundits viewed Velasco as a contender for the speakership in the next Congress. However, there has been a deluge of endorsements for the Leyte solon's speakership since last week.

Velasco thanked Romualdez for helping him shepherd the House in the outgoing 18th Congress.

"I would like to sincerely thank Majority Leader Martin Romualdez for being our steady partner and ally in the 18th Congress. His strong leadership and support as our majority leader was crucial to the passage of relevant and timely pandemic-response measures and the approval of important and key laws that will have immense impact to stir and sustain our economic growth and development as we continue to navigate to new normal.

"Under his watch, the House was able to carry on and carry out its mandate despite physical limitations due to the pandemic with the passage of priority legislative measures of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte," Velasco said.

Romualdez expressed his most sincere gratitude to Velasco for supporting him. "I am grateful for your support. From the bottom of my heart, thank you Speaker Velasco," he said.

The two House leaders also discussed the official canvass by Congress of the votes for President and Vice President cast in the May 9 elections during their meeting.

The tabulation will be done at the House of Representatives' premises in the Batasan Complex in Quezon City. Congress will reconvene on Monday.

The two leaders said they expect a speedy canvass and proclamation of the winners.