POLITICAL bigwig yesterday said the next Speaker should carry the needed legislative reforms of President Rodrigo Duterte from day one and that there is no room for on-the-job training (OJT).
Anakalusugan party-list Representative-elect Mike Defensor said speakership candidates, Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Alan Peter Cayetano have an edge in terms of experience and competence over their rivals that include Marindue Rep. Lord Alan Velasco and former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez.
“They are all my friends and can serve Speaker. But Congressmen Martin Romualdez and Alan Cayetano have the leadership depth and the capacity to navigate the House in terms of needed legislation. They have the experience, competence and caliber to lead the members of the House,” said Defensor, who was Malacañang Chief of Staff during the Arroyo administration.
“The next Speaker should be Speaker from day one. He should know what to do the very minute he sits as the country’s fourth highest official of the land,” said Defensor, a former secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in underscoring the urgent need to help President Duterte’s efforts in pursuing structural reforms to guarantee the country’s economic takeoff.
Among the candidates, Defensor said Romualdez has the most excellent interpersonal relationship with his colleagues as attested by the manifesto of support for him to be the next Speaker which was initially signed by more than 153 lawmakers.
Defensor said interpersonal relationship is very crucial in shepherding the swift passage of Duterte’s important legislative measures.
“When you speak of speakership, you need to have an excellent interpersonal relationship with each and every member of the House and clearly with the mandate given to Congressman Romualdez, it goes to show his good relationship with the majority of lawmakers,” said Defensor.
House Majority Floor Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil “Fred” Castro echoed Defensor’s observation that interpersonal relationship is a crucial character of the next Speaker.
“Martin’s character has an overwhelming edge as against the other candidates,” said Castro, president of the National Unity Party (NUP).
“And Martin initially having been benefitted by the voluntary endorsement of more than 153 members of the House is something that has to be reckoned with,” Castro added.
Romualdez, a banker and lawyer by profession, is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).
He was the House Independent Bloc leader of the previous 16th Congress or during the Aquino administration.
Romualdez, an incoming four-term congressman, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the Ivy League school, in Cornell University, and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University. He also earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines (UP).
One of the laws passed by Romualdez was Republic Act (RA) 10754, which exempts more than 1.5 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) from 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services. It was enacted during the time of former President Aquino.
Cayetano served three terms as member of the House of Representatives, two terms as senator, and secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
He finished his college degree in UP and graduated from the Ateneo Law School.
Velasco earned a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Management from De La Salle University and completed his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas.