House Speaker Martin Romualdez on Friday said his focus is on his present responsibilities as leader of the House of Representatives and not on future electoral possibilities.
He issued the statement after former President Rodrigo Duterte claimed that Romualdez appears to be “posturing” for the 2028 presidency.
This, amid the lower chamber’s move to realign the confidential funds for the office of Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, and the alleged impeachment talks against the younger Duterte among some congressmen.
House leaders have belied the rumor, saying it is “baseless” and aimed at sowing discord between Duterte and Romualdez.
“I am grateful for the former President's engagement with the political discourse, and I understand the curiosity surrounding the 2028 elections. However, I believe it is important to focus on the present challenges facing our nation,” the House Speaker said in a statement.
“As Speaker of the House of Representatives, my priority is to promote unity and collaboration across all political lines. This is a time to put aside rumors and speculations about future elections and concentrate on what we can achieve together for the betterment of our country and the welfare of the Filipino people,” he added.
“Regarding my personal political aspirations, I am currently committed to my role as Speaker and serving the needs of our nation. My focus is on the present responsibilities and not on future electoral possibilities,” Romualdez stressed.
He acknowledged the “valuable contributions” of the former president and expressed hopes Duterte will continue to “lend his support and expertise”.
“His continued involvement is crucial as we strive to overcome the challenges we face. Our collective efforts are vital for the progress and prosperity of the Philippines,” Romualdez said.
Meanwhile, House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro downplayed on Friday talks regarding impeaching Vice President Duterte, which the ACT Teachers Party List Representative claimed she heard among fellow congressmen.
Castro said the discussions were “informal” and “not serious”, adding that for the Makabayan bloc, an impeachment complaint against the Vice President would be “premature” at this time.
“Mga casual na mga kwentuhan lang ‘yan sa mga umpukan. Nothing serious naman doon. Wala pa naman talagang congressman or sinuman sa amin ang nag-file niyan o nag-eendorse. In the first place wala pa namang citizen na nagko-complain,” Castro said.
The lawmaker said the impeachment buzz may have been triggered by the issue on confidential funds.
For Gabriela Party List Rep. Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Party List Rep. Raoul Manuel, before going into such discussions, Congress should first look into how the Office of the Vice President utilized its P125 million confidential funds last year.
Last week, the lower House approved a resolution in defense of the chamber and Romualdez's leadership following former President Duterte's tirades.
The lower House unseated 2 Duterte allies as deputy speakers for failing to sign the resolution. At the same time, the former president's party-mates started moving to other parties.