Romualdez reaches out to party-list group

Martin Romualdez

Representative-elect Martin Romualdez yesterday congratulated the newly-elected officials of the 54-strong Partylist Coalition Foundation, Inc. (PCFI) led by its President 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, underscoring their shared commitment to push the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte in the incoming 18th Congress.

“Congratulations to the new officials of the party-list bloc. I am looking forward to partnering with you so that we can carry the legislative agenda of President Duterte,” said Romualdez, one of the strong candidates in the speakership race whose wife, outgoing Leyte first district Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt Romualdez, was elected Tingog representative.

Aside from Romero, the PCFI’s officers are Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon, secretary general; Ron Salo of Kabayan, deputy secretary general; Anna Villaraza-Suarez of Alona, treasurer; and Rico Geron of Agap, Virgilio Lacson of Manila Teachers and Anton Lopez of Marino as vice presidents for third, second and first termers, respectively.

“Thank you for voting and putting your trust in me as your duly elected President from 2019-2022. It will be an honor and privilege to serve all of you as your leader. Salamat sa lahat,” said Romero.

Seventeen other coalition members were voted as members of the board of trustees led by Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) President Raymond Mendoza, Anak Mindanao party-list Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta.

Romero said the PCFI pledged to unite behind one choice for Speaker, so they thought of “an open courtship phase” where all the contenders for Speaker can unveil their plans.

“We just want to make well-informed decisions on how we can best advance the interest of different sectors of society in the 18th Congress. We want to see and hear from all of the contenders in a friendly setting,” said Romero who invited Romualdez, reelected Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros to their event last Thursday at the Marco Polo Hotel in in Pasig City to present their programs.

Romualdez, President of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), assured the PCFI of fair and equitable distribution of committee posts and budget allocations should he become the Speaker of the incoming 18th Congress.

He also recognized the invaluable contribution of the party-list bloc in ensuring the swift passage of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s legislative agenda this 17th Congress, adding the group will continue to be a powerful partner for reforms next Congress.

“The party-list group comprises 20% of the House of Representatives. We will work for their proper representation in various committees, budget allocations, and among others. These are the things we will thresh out,” Romualdez told reporters.

Romualdez got an initial backing of at least 126 lawmakers who signed the manifesto of support for his speakership bid.

Romualdez, the former House Independent Bloc Leader of the previous 16th Congress, said he hopes to get the support of the PCFI.

The Leyte congressman-elect said he expects the party-list bloc in the incoming 18th Congress to continue with its crucial role in ensuring the swift passage of Malacañang’s priority measures..