Name bet now, Duterte urged

THREE lawmakers yesterday appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to endorse a candidate for Speaker to put an end to bickering among members of the House of Representatives.

Speaking in the weekly Pandesal forum in Kamuning Bakery, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, former Majority Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro and Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor asked President Duterte to choose Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, because he is the most qualified candidate.

“Pick Martin,” Salceda said, when asked what is his request of the President.

According to Salceda, the President’s endorsement will help the Congress pick a leader that would pursue the administration’s legislative agenda.

“Kaming mga congressman, importante sa amin na yung Speaker ay ally ng Presidente, yung nakakalapit sa Presidente at yung pwedeng kumausap sa mga congressman,” Salceda said.

Salceda expressed belief that the President will still make a choice before the 18th Congress opens.

Defensor said lawmakers need guidance from President Duterte, however, he is urging him to choose Romualdez.

“Si Romualdez ang most qualified. In terms of qualification and experience in Congress, he has the edge,” Defensor said.

Castro agreed with his two colleagues, saying he is appealing to the President to reconsider his decision not endorse any candidate.

“Ako sinisiguro ko, karapatdapat si Martin Romualdez.  Sa kanyang experience at kaalaman ay maisusulong niya ang agenda ng Pangulo,” the solon said.

So far, there are three serious contenders for Speaker – Romualdez,  Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

In addition, presidential son Davao City Rep. Paolo Dutere has expressed intention to join the race while the Hugpong ng Pagbabago  (HNP) is endorsing Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab.

The three veteran legislators expressed confidence that President Duterte, upon confirming the final tally of signatures in Romualdez’s favor, will welcome or even endorse the ascension of the Leyte solon to the top House post.

The party-list solon noted that the majority of congressmen prefer Romualdez over the other Speakership aspirants due to his vast knowledge and experience as legislator as well as his leadership qualities and long-standing relationship with most legislators.