HOUSE Speaker Martin Romualdez took a swipe on Monday, November 6, 2023, on the critics of the House of Representatives who seek to tarnish and malign them, as he vowed to continue to defend the institution and its members from threats and intimidation from any source.
In his speech during the resumption of session, Romualdez said he is unfazed by the criticisms of “a dissatisfied few whose only intention is to sow divisiveness.”
“Tatayo ako laban sa sinuman na mananakot sa atin para masunod lamang ang gusto nila. Titindig ako -- tayong lahat -- para sa kapakanan ng bayan,” he said.
(I will stand against anyone who would threaten us to do what they want. I will stand up -- all of us -- for the sake of the people.)
Despite having different beliefs and standing on various issues, Romualdez said the members of the House of Representatives continue to be united especially against those attacking the institution, especially those preventing and distracting them from performing their mandate.
He also defended how the House of Representatives exercised its power of the purse by approving certain realignments in the 2024 national budget.
“The House was never lenient, nor did it favor anyone. The entire process was dedicated to uplifting the lives of our fellow citizens and staying true to the fundamental principles of the system of checks and balances in the government,” he said.
“Wala pong personalan dito. Trabaho lang (Nothing personal here. Work only),” he added.
He lamented the high rating he and his chamber posted in the recent survey.
The Octa Research 3rd quarter 2023 survey showed that the Speaker’s trust rating jumped significantly by 22 points, from 38 percent to 60 percent, between 2022 and 2023.
From July to October 2023, his trust level also increased by six points, from 54 percent to 60 percent.
In the same poll, his performance satisfaction mark climbed by 17 points between 2020-2022 and 2023, from 44 percent to 61 percent.
From July to October 2023, his performance rating increased by six points, from 55 percent to 61 percent.
Romualdez said this indicates that they are on the right track “in identifying and addressing the problems and issues that confront our kababayan in their daily lives.”
“Our most important clients, the constituents we are all duty-bound to serve, expect nothing less than results founded on honesty, trustworthiness, and moral uprightness -- non-negotiable demands we must safeguard and deliver,” he told the members of the House.
“Let us focus on the tasks at hand. When our goals are aligned, we could be an excellent force, propelling our country into unbridled progress. Let us ensure that our actions will promote development in all spheres of both the government and society,” he added.
The chamber then adopted House Resolution 1414 upholding the integrity and honor of the House of Representatives and expressing appreciation, solidarity, and support for the leadership of Romualdez.
The resolution was sponsored by Pampanga third district representative Senior Deputy Speaker (SDS) Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr.
During the deliberation for the adoption of the resolution, Gonzales announced his resignation as the national treasurer of PDP-Laban as he named its party chair, former President Rodrigo Duterte, as the person attacking the institution.
In a television interview, Duterte said the House of Representative is the “most rotten organization” and that their bellies are full of pork barrel or the Priority Development Assistance Fund which was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013 amid the alleged misuse of some lawmakers.
Duterte made the statement as he defended the request for confidential funds of the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education, which were both under his daughter Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The OVP is seeking P500 million in confidential funds while the DepEd with P150 million.
The House of Representatives earlier stripped the DepEd and OVP of its confidential funds and reallocated the budget to government agencies in charge of securing the country’s territory at the West Philippine Sea amid the continuous harassment of China.
The older Duterte also tagged ACT Teachers Party-list representative France Castro as communist adding further that he wants to kill them.
Castro filed charges against Duterte in relation to his statement. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)