Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers sees Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin Romualdez will overwhelmingly get the majority vote of the House of Representatives in the 19th Congress.
Barbers, one of the few veteran lawmakers of the incoming Congress, cited in a statement Romualdez’s “sterling performance record”as former House majority leader.
Romualdez served as House majority leader during the previous 18th Congress under the leadership of both former speakers Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Alan Velasco.
The Mindanaoan solon noted how Romualdez helped stabilize political turmoil among members of the Lower Chamber during the reported Velasco-Cayetano speakership rift in October 2020.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to vote for Majo Romualdez as House Speaker for the 19th Congress, he being a consensus-builder and a hard-working lawmaker who can go beyond the political divide just to ensure the timely passage of former President Duterte’s priority measures,” Barbers said.
Romualdez was supposed to run for the speakership in 2019 but former president Rodrigo Duterte asked him to withdraw from the race and brokered a term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco.
“He was also credited for steering the House minority and majority members in the passage of crucial pieces of legislation such as the Bayanihan 1 and 2 to help alleviate economically the welfare of Filipinos badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
Barbers, who is vying to become the next House Majority Leader, also described Romualdez as an “amiable” House leader who “always consults and listen” and push harmony among them, even some are opposition members.
On its first day of session on Monday, July 25, the House of Representatives is expected to vote for its officers from speaker, deputy speakers, to committee chairmen.
Various political parties are backing Romualdez’s bid for speakership, among these are his own party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC).
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. already gave his explicit endorsement of Romualdez shortly after he got elected in the May 9 national elections. Traditionally, the congressmen go by the choice of the sitting president when it comes to electing their speaker.
Romualdez, the president of the Lakas-CMD party, is the cousin of the President.
“His (Romualdez’s) unity message as desired by President Marcos would be a great asset and support to the 19th Congress as well as to the visons and aspirations of the Marcos administration,” Barbers said.