Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on Saturday declared support for Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to be Speaker of the 19th Congress.
Arroyo, chair emeritus of Lakas-CMD, in a statement said she and Romualdez have worked together for a long time.
"Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and I have been working together for decades in a joint effort to do our best to serve the Filipino people. Since 2010, our partnership involved our service as fellow members of the House of Representatives," Arroyo said.
The former president, who ran unopposed in Eleksyon 2022 for the post of representative of the 2nd District of Pampanga, also urged Lakas-CMD members to likewise support Romualdez, who is Lakas-CMD president.
"I will be returning to the House on June 30, 2022. I would therefore like to advise the members of the Lakas-CMD that I am throwing my support for Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to be elected as House Speaker in the next Congress. I urge all members of our party to do the same," she said.
Romualdez, in a statement, expressed gratitude to Arroyo for the endorsement.
“I would like to express my most sincere gratitude to our esteemed Lakas-CMD President Emeritus, former President and returning Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for her words of support and encouragement, which mean a lot to me," Romualdez, who is also Lakas-CMD president, said.
He added that Arroyo "was one of our guiding lights" in the 17th Congress when the former president was House Speaker.
“We will continue to count on her for help and advice,” Romualdez added.
Romualdez, a cousin of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., ran unopposed as representative of the 1st District of Leyte in Eleksyon 2022.
He said he would do his best to push for the agenda of the incoming administration in the House, and to serve his colleagues and constituents well.
The lawmaker also promised to be a consensus-builder, and to be fair and to listen to the views of all.
"We are actually going to continue with all of the amelioration programs that had been started in aid of the pandemic response. We will continue with all the economic measures to help reinvigorate our economy. There will also be new legislation, but we have to consult with the new administration. It would be slowly and surely be unfolded in the days to come," Romualdez said in a media interview.
Romualdez also thanked other individuals and parties that endorsed him, among them his nephew and Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative-elect Sandro Marcos, son of presumptive president Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. The Leyte lawmaker is a cousin of Marcos Jr.
He also expressed gratitude for the endorsement of the group of newly elected House members led by Marcos and incoming lawmakers from PDP-Laban, Lakas-CMD, Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People's Coalition, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, as well as party-list and independent congressmen.
The National Unity Party also endorsed Romualdez for the post of Speaker.
The Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc., a coalition of party-lists in the House, is also endorsing Romualdez for the speakership, according to Deputy Speaker and 1-Pacman party-list Representative Mikee Romero.
Asked to comment on President Rodrigo Duterte's proposal to the next administration to abolish the party-list system since it is allegedly being abused by leftist groups, Romualdez said he treats the system with respect.
"It is constitutionally mandated. It's been operationalized. I have been a first-hand witness to the good the party-list congressmen and congresswomen, how they serve, not just in Congress but in the countryside where the help of their programs and projects are most needed," Romualdez said.
Another major political party in the Congress – the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) – on Sunday expressed support for Romualdez as the next House Speaker.
NPC Secretary General and former Batangas Rep. Llandro Mendoza, alongside Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, presented to Romualdez the party's manifesto of endorsement as Speaker of the 19th Congress during a luncheon meeting in Makati City.
The NPC said that Romualdez would bring the House of Representatives to new and greater heights under a common goal of unity towards economic and moral recovery, social justice, and the rule of law.
"We, the members of the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) party of the 19th Congress of the Philippines, express our full support to Honorable Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, Representative of the 1st District of Leyte, as the new SPEAKER of the House of Representatives," the NPC said.
"We firmly believe that Hon. Romualdez has the experience and aptitude that will effectively unify the House of Representatives in the passage of important and crucial legislative reforms for the country and the Filipino people under the administration of His Excellency, President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.," it added.
Meanwhile, outgoing Senate President and chairman of the NPC Vicente Sotto III, also threw his support behind Romualdez.
"As Chairman of the (NPC) Nationalist People’s Coalition and in consultation with our HOR leaders, I hereby announce the unconditional support of the party to the Speakership of Congressman Martin Romualdez!" Sotto said in a Viber message. —with a report from Jamil Santos/Mel Matthew Doctor/KG/VBL/DVM, GMA News