THE number 1 and 2 officials of the House of Representatives are the powerhouse duo at work and have credited their friendship and experiences for the very impressive legislative output and the resulting record high trust and approval ratings of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
“Magkaibigan kami talaga,” said House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, the chairman of the powerful House Committee on Rules and a former candidate for Speaker.
“We always put our respective constituency, the Filipino people, above all. Doon kami nagkakaisa,” said Romualdez, the number 2 official of the House of Representatives or the alter ego of the Speaker whose main task is to ensure the smooth proceedings in the plenary aimed at guaranteeing the passage of the President’s legislative agenda.
Romualdez is the president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) and Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa).
While the Majority Leader is traditionally the Speaker’s handpick, Romualdez was chosen by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte for the post under a term-sharing agreement for the Speakership between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco.
He was elected House Majority Leader by the plenary on July 22, 2019 and will serve for three years under President Duterte’s term-sharing agreement while Cayetano will stay for 15 months before giving his position to Velasco in the next 21 months of the 18th Congress upon the blessing of the House members.
Romualdez, who immediately congratulated and extended his hand to Cayetano after President Duterte’s announcement of term-sharing agreement for the hotly contested speakership race, said he is committed to the Chief Executive’s vision to make comfortable the life of Filipinos.
“The Speaker plays an active role in engaging all the stakeholders, including the media. We actually share these values, these priorities, these initiatives. Nagkakaintindihan kami agad. Isang tinginan lang, okay na,” said Romualdez, a lawyer and banker by profession.
Cayetano congratulated Romualdez for the impressive approval of important pieces of legislation that President Duterte has been pushing.
“Tama ‘yung sinabi ni Martin, matagal na rin kasi kaming magkaibigan,” said Cayetano, a stalwart of the Nacionalista Party (NP) who also thanked Romualdez for supporting the political career of his wife, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Lani Cayetano.
“Ako naman bilang asawa, I’ve always treasured that,” said Cayetano.
“During the campaign, we bumped into each other, nagkukwentuhan kami. Of course he tried to win me over, I tried to win him over,” said Cayetano, referring to the speakership fight of the 18th Congress.
“We had faith in his (President Duterte’s) decision that it was blessed by God,” Cayetano added.
Cayetano got an 80 percent approval rating this December from 64 percent last September and 76 percent trust rating compared to his 62 percent in the third quarter Pulse Asia survey.
Before Congress went on a month-long Christmas break starting December 21, Romualdez said the House of Representatives processed a total of 900 measures or an average of 28 measures per day during the 32 session days.
From July 22 to December 18, 2019, Romualdez said the House of Representatives received a total of 6,562 measures and 186 committee reports.
Of these, Romualdez said 5,889 are bills and 673 are resolutions.