LEYTE Rep. Martin Romualdez, a strong contender for the House speakership, yesterday said he respects the decision of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago to endorse another candidate for Speaker.
Rep. Romualdez, president of the Lakas-CMD, had forged an alliance with the HNP which was founded by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
HNP has picked Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as its candidate for Speaker.
But Romualdez said he will still wait for the endorsement of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We respect HNP’s endorsement of its Speakership candidate. However, we will await the President’s final say on the matter,” he said.
“Going back to the President’s last statement (June 27), he maintained his neutrality in the speakership race.
“In fact, the President told us, the speakership candidates, that he would not meddle in the race and assured us also that he will not secretly pass on any order to support a candidate,” Romualdez added.
Meanwhile, two lawmakers said it is better if the lawmakers will be given the leeway to choose the next Speaker.
Reports said that some cabinet secretaries and closes allies of the President are dipping their hands in the speakership issue.
Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice said that since all the aspirants are close to President Duterte, they should just run and win the hearts of the members of the 18th Congress.
“All of the major contenders for the speakership are known solid President Duterte supporters, they are all qualified and each has his own unique leadership skills, so why not allow them to slug it out and may the best man win,” Erice said.
“Let them win the hearts and minds of members of the House. I also suggest that voting for Speaker be conducted by secret balloting.
“The said process will ensure a leader truly supported by the members and eventually may improve the image of the house,” Erice added.
For her part, ACT Teacher party-list Rep. France Castro said the Speakership race is a number game and therefore let the members decide.
“It’s anybody’s ball game. Lumalabas na lima na ang kandidato para maging speaker. Mukhang madadagdagan pa yan hanggang sa July22. Hayaan na lang maging malaya ang mga konggresistang mamili ng gusto nilang speaker. At the end of the game, numbers will prevail at maliban kay Cong Zarate, lahat naman yan alyado ni Pres. Duterte,” Castro said.
Zarate, a representative of Bayan Muna, is also vying for Speaker but only to get the Minority post.