POLITICAL analyst Ramon Casiple on Tuesday said President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s preference for consensus builder House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez as his vice presidential bet makes for an excellent choice and would be a good start for the latter to rebuild the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
Casiple said Romualdez, President of the Lakas-CMD, will provide balance to Duterte’s Mindanao bailiwick, explaining the Majority Leader has been known to have a strong influence in Luzon and the Visayas. He also credited the excellent work ethic of Romualdez for the passage of President Duterte’s legislative agenda and other priority measures bills that are vital to national survival amid 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 endorsed 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.