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Romualdez blasts Senate over 'toxic rhetoric': Wala kayong pakialam sa people's initiative

Speaker Martin Romualdez on Friday responded to senators' "very toxic rhetoric" against him and the House of Representatives in connection with the ongoing signature campaign for people's initiative to amend the 1987 Constitution.

In a press conference, Romualdez said instead of criticizing the House of Representatives, the Senate should address its supposed failure to approve the priority legislations of the Marcos administration.

"Tapos na ang trabaho ng House of Representatives. Tapos na lahat ng assignment. Iyong senador, hindi pa tapos. Tapusin niyo ang trabaho niyo. Naghihintay ang mga Pilipino. Kadugay (you're slow)," Romualdez said when asked why the scheduled Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) meeting on Thursday was postponed.

Romualdez was referring to the House approval of most of the priority bills of the administration, with only four pending as of this month. 

Romualdez's cousin, Senator Imee Marcos, has accused him of going against President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s wishes not to pursue people's initiative. She has also accused the House leader of being behind the people's initiative move. 

"Wala kayong pakialam sa PI (people's initiative)," Romualdez responded. "Trabaho 'yan ng taumbayan. Ang Congress at senator, ang trabaho, legislation. PI is power of the people. [You senators should] buckle down to work. There is only 24 of you, get your act together. Focus on your work. Stop hitting on Congress and maintain parliamentary courtesy."

(You have no business with people's initiative. That's the job of the people. The job of Congress and senators is legislation.)

Senators have adopted a manifesto expressing their opposition to people's initiative for Charter change (Cha-cha). The document asks voters if they are in favor of amending the Charter by allowing the House and the Senate to jointly vote on proposed constitutional amendments. Senators say this seeks to remove the Senate out of the equation as House members greatly outnumber senators.

Also in his press conference, Romualdez dismissed Senator Marcos' claim that P20 million is being dangled to every district as a reward for those who will sign off the people's initiative. 

"Maraming Marites (rumormongers) diyan sa Senate [there are a lot of rumormongers in the Senate]. All speculation," he said. 

Romualdez had written a letter to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri assuring the Senate that the House will adopt Senate's Resolution of Both Houses 6, which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution or any people’s initiative led by the Senate. 

"The House of Representatives, despite the very toxic rhetoric coming out of the Senate... we would like to suggest to the leadership to exercise parliamentary courtesy and that they behave more properly. I wrote the letter to assuage any hurt feelings that they have," he said.

"Kung ano ano lumalabas diyan eh, hindi natin pinapatulan kasi walang basehan [we don't respond to baseless comments]. We do not dignify statement that are divisive. We respond to calls for unity, sobriety, and for everyone to work together for betterment of the Filipino," Romualdez added.

GMA News Online has reached out to Zubiri and Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva for their comments on Romualdez's remarks, but they have yet to respond as of posting time.  —KBK, GMA Integrated News