Party-list groups, Romualdez accept Duterte's choice

Party-list Coalition meeting at Marco Polo Ortigas in Metro Manila on Tuesday, July 9, 2019. (Photo by Ryniel Berlanga)

THE Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. and the supporters of Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez will fall in with President Rodrigo Duterte's endorsement of a term-sharing arrangement for the House Speakership.

1Pacman Party-list Representative Michael Romero, president of the coalition, said the party-list groups will vote for the President's choice "for now."

Romero said 38 party-list representatives attended the meeting that they held Tuesday to discuss the President's announcement.

Albay 3rd District Rep. Jose Maria Salceda, one of the supporters of Romualdez, also said they have decided to follow the President.

"Simple lang po ang napag-usapan. Number one, with the respect to the choice of the Speaker is to follow the President. No ifs, no buts, no excepts, no unless," he said after the group met Tuesday, July 9.

Duterte announced on Monday, July 8, that Representatives Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) and Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) will share the term of the House Speaker.

Cayetano will serve in the first 15 months while Velasco will serve in the next 21 months.

Romualdez, another Speakership aspirant, will serve as Majority Floor Leader, Duterte said.

Malacañang later clarified that the President said members of the House will still have the final say on who should serve as their Speaker.

The Speaker will be elected when the 18th Congress opens on July 22.

Salceda said Romualdez and the 72 congressmen who supported Romualdez's bid for the Speakership have accepted the President's decision.

"We still got a very important position. The workhorse of the House is actually the Majority Leader. If you want to get things done with respect to the laws or bills passed, I think the majority leader is actually a good position. So, you get prioritized dun po sa committee on rules and the way it is being handled on the floor," Salceda said.

He said he and other supporters asked Romualdez to just do his job and develop a robust relationship with the Speaker.

He added that they have vowed to support the President's legislative agenda.

Meanwhile, Romero said the party-list coalition will push for chairmanship of a fifth of the committees since they comprise 20 percent, or a fifth, of the House membership.

There are 75 committees in the House, including 15 special committees. (Ryniel Berlanga/SunStar Philippines)


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