MANILA, Philippines — The Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has reaffirmed its support for the speakership bid of Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and vowed to back the legislative agenda of the incoming Marcos administration.
The NPC, which had earlier expressed support for Romualdez’s speakership, has formalized its endorsement of the Leyte 1st District representative through an official declaration read by party chairman, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, during the party’s fellowship dinner at Makati Diamond Residences last Saturday.
“With the authority given to me, I hereby declare that the Nationalist People’s Coalition at the House of Representatives will support the speakership of Martin Romualdez. I mentioned it before, but tonight (Saturday), we make it official,” Sotto said.
“We assure (party members) that this party has always been there, strong, will remain strong and under the leadership of the new speaker… I’m sure that we will have a very good 19th Congress at the House,” he added.
Romualdez, cousin of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., was present during the event along with NPC stalwarts and senators-elect Win Gatchalian, JV Ejercito, Chiz Escudero and Loren Legarda.
Another NPC stalwart, Rizal 1st District Rep. Jack Duavit, said the party, composed of 39 members at the House, would be a “solid partner” of Romualdez in pursuing the legislative agenda of the incoming administration.
“We just like you (Romualdez) to know that we are not just going to be your partners, we are always your friends, you can count on our support because we know that your cousin and yourself are out to rebuild this nation and we want to be a part of that and we want to be a part of that success,” Duavit said in his speech.
NPC members at the House specifically committed to support Romualdez’s proposed Bayan Bangon Muli or BBM stimulus package bill, which is poised to become the first COVID-19 pandemic-response measures of the incoming Marcos administration.
During the event, NPC congressmen also reiterated their May 15 statement supporting Romualdez, the majority leader of the outgoing 18th Congress.
In their earlier statement, NPC congressmen said 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.”
Romualdez thanked the NPC and expressed his optimism for greater partnership between the Senate and House of Representatives in the coming 19th Congress.
“We will have a great partnership with the Senate and of course in consonance with the legislative agenda of the [incoming] administration. I am sure that at the heels of this pandemic, we will be on the road to recovery not just health wise, but economically, that’s what we look forward to,” he said.
“The theme of the campaign of President BBM (Marcos) was unity, and that’s what I envision most in NPC, you always have this unity in the party, tonight I see this unity, I see this unity spreading not just within Congress, but within the country,” he added.
“When you work together as one, we can face all these challenges together, with that, I’m assured that this country will rise again and succeed, maraming maraming salamat sa suporta n’yo, mabuhay ang NPC (thank you so much for your support, long live the NPC),” he said.
Romualdez, president of the once ruling and now re-emerging Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) had earlier secured the backing of the party’s president emeritus, former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to be the next speaker.
Also backing Romualdez’s speakership are the Cusi-faction of the ruling PDP-Laban, Nacionalista Party, Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino, regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, National Unity Party as well as several party-list groups and independent congressmen.
Romualdez will no longer have any problems in taking over the helm of the House come July 25, especially with outgoing Speaker Lord Allan Velasco’s latest endorsement of him as his successor.
“I believe his election as speaker of the 19th Congress (2022-2025) will ensure that the legislative agenda of the incoming administration will be pursued and completed. Romualdez has my support and friendship,” Velasco said.
“With GMA now out of the contest for the speakership and the solid support of most power blocs at the House for Martin as speaker, it will definitely be a smooth transition from the outgoing to the incoming leadership,” Rep. LRay Villafuerte said.
Arroyo was the first to have endorsed the reelected Romualdez – a cousin of Marcos – as the speaker of the incoming 19th Congress.
“Martin’s election as speaker right before BBM delivers his inaugural State of the Nation Address on July 25 is now a ‘fait accompli’ with his endorsement as speaker by no less than GMA, who has been touted as his most serious challenger for the position,” Villafuerte said.
The Camarines Sur lawmaker said Arroyo, a reelected representative of Pampanga’s 2nd district, was earlier seen as Romualdez’s most formidable challenger for the elective position, even if Arroyo sits as Lakas-CMD emeritus and Romualdez is its president.
“Hence, we anticipate that no hitches in Martin’s election as speaker, paving the way for the Leyte legislator to hit the ground running at the start of the first regular session of the 19th Congress,” Villafuerte said.