MANILA - Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez on Wednesday met with President Rodrigo Duterte in a private dinner amid the tight race for House leadership.
This, after ruling party PDP-Laban endorsed Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for the speakership.
Romualdez, among those vying for House Speaker, said he assured the President of a united House of Representatives and the speedy passage of the President's priority bills, especially the 2020 national budget.
“I told the President that my fellow congressmen, even before Congress opens session on July 22, have begun working on the measures that need to discussed ASAP,” he said.
Romualdez bared his meeting with Duterte after Taguig Pateros Representative-Elect Alan Peter Cayetano said he was "disappointed" at House speakership rival, Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco for supposedly rejecting an already agreed term-sharing deal on the House Speakership of the 18th Congress.
In a statement, Cayetano confirmed that a term-sharing agreement was finalized Monday night during the thanksgiving Party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago for allies who backed their senatorial slate in the 2019 Midterm Elections.
Cayetano claimed that Duterte had pushed for a term-sharing agreement as a "win-win solution" to resolve the row on the House speakership.
Romualdez said he already told Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez that the lawmakers will approve the 2020 national budget by October.
He also assured that the budget will be "as fair and as equitable as the President mandates."
This year's budget was delayed by wrangling among lawmakers over supposed insertions and forced the government to run on a reenacted 2018 budget for nearly 4 months.
Among priority measures that the lawmakers will tackle are the Coco Levy Act, the Department of Disaster and Resilience, second package of tax reform, excise tax on alcohol products, federalism, and the mandatory Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC).