MANILA — A cousin of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is poised to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Various congressmen said that they will be voting for Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who has been serving as the House Majority Leader since 2019.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to vote for Majo Romualdez as House Speaker for the 19th Congress, he being a consensus-builder and a hard-working lawmaker who can go beyond the political divide just to ensure the timely passage of former President Duterte’s priority measures,” Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said in a statement.
“We will elect him as our Speaker. He has the full support of our party, PDP-Laban, and almost all political groups in the House led by his own Lakas-CMD, which he heads as president,” Pampanga 3rd District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. also said.
Romualdez already enjoys the support of most of the major political parties of the House of Representatives, including his own Lakas-CMD which now has 64 congressmen. Other parties supporting him are Duterte's PDP-Laban, the National Unity Party, the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, and the Party-List Coalition.
Former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had also thrown support for Romualdez, despite reports she herself was eyeing the speakership. Arroyo already served as Speaker under former President Duterte from 2018-2019.
Arroyo had rallied support for Romualdez’s bid for the Speakership in the 18th Congress, but he became Majority Leader after Duterte brokered a term-sharing agreement between then Representative Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.
For Gonzales and Barbers, Romualdez’s time has come.
“He was in the running for the speakership in 2019 but settled for the position of majority leader to promote camaraderie and unity in the House. He politely and patiently waited for his time to become Speaker while doing his job well. Forbearance and the capacity for self-sacrifice are his virtues. And the time has now come for him to be our leader,” Gonzales said.
Barbers also said he believes Romualdez has a "sterling performance record" as House Majority Leader under the leaderships of both Cayetano and Velasco.
Barbers noted that Romualdez is known as a consensus-builder who helped stabilize political turmoil among members of the august chamber during the Velasco-Cayetano speakership battle in October 2020.
"[Romualdez’s] unity message as desired by President Marcos would be a great asset and support to the 19th Congress as well as to the visions and aspirations of the Marcos administration,” he said.
“Those skills will come in handy as our new Speaker shepherds the House in support of the legislative and unity agenda of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.,” Gonzales added.
According to a resume provided by his office, Romualdez first served as Representative of his district from 2007 to 2016, then from 2019 to 2022.
He won a second term in the May 9 polls and is eligible for another term in 2025.
Romualdez is also the president of Lakas-CMD.
He is married to fellow lawmaker Yedda Marie Romualdez, who represents Tingog Party-list.
He is also a cousin of Sen. Imee Marcos and a nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
Romualdez also served as one of the main campaign managers of Vice-President Sara Duterte in the 2022 elections.
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