IF the number of congressmen supporting Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez for Speaker in the 18th Congress is an indication, then he may turn out to be the next leader of the House of Representatives.
“Martin has the numbers. I do not have the exact figures because more congressmen are signing for the manifesto of support every day, but he has the comfortable numbers to be elected Speaker,” said House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez in an interview over ANC Monday.
Last week, Suarez disclosed that the camp of Romualdez has already secured the signatures of 126 congressmen in the manifesto of support for the Leyte representative’s Speakership bid.
Suarez noted that more congressmen are coming out in the open for Rep. Romualdez after President Duterte and his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, rejected proposals for them to anoint the successor of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the 18th Congress.
The President and Mayor Sara both announced that they would leave it to the congressmen to pick their leader as they respect the independence of the House of Representatives.
Suarez pointed out that Mayor Sara’s statement of neutrality favors the Speakership bid of Reps. Romualdez and Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque who, she admitted, are both her friends.
“As far as Mayor Sara’s preference is concerned, it is a toss-up between Rep. Romualdez and Rep. Velasco. Mukhang out na si Reps. (Alan Peter) Cayetano and (Pantaleon) Alvarez,” he said.
But if the congressmen’s personal choice is the key to the Speakership, Suarez said Rep. Romualdez has an advantage over Rep. Velasco.
“All things equal, Martin is the personal choice of the congressmen,” he said.