Romualdez thanks Sara, NUP to support HNP’s Speaker bet

LAKAS-CHRISTIAN Muslim Democrats (CMD) President Martin Romualdez yesterday confirmed the statement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio that he is eyeing the speakership of the 18th Congress.

“I confirm the statement of Mayor Sara that I am interested in the speakership race of the 18th Congress,” said Romualdez, former House Independent Bloc Leader of the 17th Congress and a three-term Leyte congressman, when asked to comment.

“Many congressmen aspire for that position. I am humbled and honored that she (Mayor Sara) mentioned my name as one of the contenders,” said Romualdez.

During a recent interview in Pateros, Duterte said she learned that Romualdez might seek the House leadership. “Nabalitaan ko na interested din si soon to be Congressman Martin Romualdez,” said Duterte. Romualdez has reaffirmed his commitment to support President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s legislative agenda.

“As a Malacañang ally, it is my duty to push the legislative agenda of the President. Right now, I am working very hard to ensure my victory in the coming election,” said Romualdez.

NUP supports HNP Speaker bet.

In a related development, the National Unity Party (NUP) vowed to support the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) candidate for Speaker like it did when it backed Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July.

NUP President Ronaldo Puno, former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), said NUP will not abandon its coalition agreement with HNP.

“The NUP is in a Coalition Agreement with the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP) Party. We are committed to support the candidate for Speaker of the HNP if they choose to endorse one,” said Puno, adding that NUP will not be fielding its own candidate for Speaker of the Lower House in the 18th Congress.

“We supported the HNP when they worked for the election of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker,” said Puno.

Puno also cited HNP for supporting Arroyo whose experience and sterling leadership have helped Congress institute reforms this 17th Congress.

“We believe the HNP provided our country great service by enlisting a former President who has had the highest government experience in both the Executive and Legislative branches of Government and has had extensive foreign relations experience as well. Speaker Arroyo commands the respect of every Congressman in the NUP and of course in the House of Representatives,” said Puno.

He also said NUP will just support the candidate for Speaker of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte should HNP decide not to endorse anybody.

“If the HNP chooses not to endorse any Congressman for Speaker, NUP will still not have its own candidate for Speaker. We would rather support the candidate who supports President Duterte, has the broadest government experience, and who can eloquently represent the Congress and the country in interactions with foreign counterparts,” said Puno.

“But it is early in the process, the congressmen still need to undergo the election process. And the NUP will still await the consultations with the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, which we hope will transpire after the elections. The NUP will heed advice from the HNP on who they believe can best serve the Duterte Administration as Speaker of The House of Representatives,” said Puno.