FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has confirmed that consensus builder House Majority Leader Martin G. Romualdez of Leyte is President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s preferred vice presidential bet in the 2022 presidential elections.
Cayetano, a congressman representing Taguig City-Pateros, said he first heard of the President’s offer in one of their meetings during the speakership fight.
”’Yun naman ang sinabi niya (President Duterte) noong nag-usap kaming tatlo (Cayetano, Romualdez and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco) from the start,” Cayetano told reporters in an ambush interview after ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, confirmed that President Duterte voiced out once again his preference for Romualdez as his vice presidential candidate during the signing of the P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 in Malacañang last December 28.
“That day na nag-usap kaming tatlo na may term sharing, hindi siguro lumabas sa news ‘yun pero ‘yun ang kasama sa usapan [na vice presidential bet si Martin],” Cayetano said.
According to the President, he was impressed with Romualdez’s sterling performance in steering the administration’s legislative agenda for the past two years despite the intramurals for speakership in the House of Representatives.
“The President is a good judge of character naman, but it’s really up to the people and as you know, I worked well with Martin so I wish him well kung ano man ang tatakbuhin niya,” Cayetano stressed.
He also credited the excellent work ethic of Romualdez behind the passage of President Duterte’s legislative agenda and other priority measures that are vital to national survival amid the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Martin is a good person, napakasipag. Nakatulong ng husto sa Kongreso at sa pandemic. Hindi nagtago ‘yan, pumapasok parati. So I wish him well kung ano man ang tatakbuhin niya,” Cayetano said.
In the fight for Speakership during the opening of the 18th Congress, Romualdez gave way to Cayetano and Velasco upon the prodding of President Duterte who wanted him to be the Majority Leader under the so-called “Magellan Formula.”
It was in that meeting with Cayetano and Velasco that President Duterte first broached the idea of supporting Romualdez as his chosen candidate for vice president in the 2021 elections.
The President reiterated his choice for Romualdez to be the vice presidential candidate when Cayetano and Velasco sought a meeting with the Chief Executive to settle the speakership row last October.
The President has repeatedly voiced out his preference for Romualdez as vice presidential bet in a series of private meetings with senators and congressmen, the latest of which took place during the signing of the 2021 General Appropriations Act (GAA) in Malacanang last December 28.
Those who heard the President endorse Romuldez for the VP slot noted that the Chief Executive was serious in promoting the House Majority Leader as his chosen candidate.
Also present in that meeting were Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Bong Go, Deputy Speaker Abraham Tolentino, House Minority Leader Stephen Paduano, and Yap.
When the President again mentioned the name of Romualdez as his vice presidential bet in the December 28 Malacañang meeting, those present were convinced that the Chief Executive had already made up his mind.
Publication Source : People's Journal