Romualdez, Cayetano Edge Rivals In Experience, Competence

A party-list lawmaker said the next Speaker should have the needed experience and competence to lead the House of Representatives from day one, something that both Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano have in common.

“The next Speaker should know what to do the very minute he sits as the country’s fourth highest official of the land. There is no room for on-the-job training,” Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor said.

The former Malacañang Chief of Staff underscored the “urgent need” to help President Rodrigo Duterte’s efforts in pursuing structural reforms to guarantee the country’s economic takeoff, stressing the next Speaker should also “carry the needed legislative reforms” of the Chief Executive from day one.

Based on this criterion, Defensor said Romualdez and Cayetano have an edge over their rivals that include Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

“They are all my friends and can serve as Speaker. But Congressmen Romualdez and Cayetano have the leadership depth and the capacity to navigate the House in terms of needed legislation. They have the experience, competence, and caliber to lead the members of the House,” Defensor said.

Romualdez Has Edge In Interpersonal Relationship

But among the candidates, Defensor said Romualdez has the most excellent interpersonal relationship with his colleagues, as attested by the manifesto of support for him to be the next Speaker initially signed by more than 153 lawmakers.

“When you speak of the speakership, you need to have an excellent interpersonal relationship with each and every member of the House. With the mandate given to Congressman Romualdez, it clearly goes to show his good relationship with the majority of lawmakers,” Defensor said.

“And an interpersonal relationship is very crucial in shepherding the swift passage of President Duterte’s important legislative measures,” he added.

House Majority Floor Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro agreed with Defensor’s observation on an interpersonal relationship as a crucial character of the next Speaker.

“Martin’s character has an overwhelming edge as against the other candidates,” the president of the National Unity Party (NUP) said.

“And Martin, initially having been benefited by the voluntary endorsement of more than 153 members of the House, is something that has to be reckoned with,” Castro said.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez repeatedly endorsed the speakership bid of Romualdez, saying the Leyte congressman is “the most qualified” among the aspirants.

“Martin is the most qualified. Just look at his resume,” he said in the run-up for the Speakership race on July 22.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles had hinted that the 54-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc. would most likely choose between the only “two serious contenders” for the speakership — Romualdez and Velasco.

“Party-list lawmakers believe that only under a Velasco or a Romualdez speakership will we be treated fairly and the concerns of our constituents are heard and respected,” he said.

“This will be a tough decision… but we will definitely choose the Speaker who can treat us justly and fairly,” Nograles said.

Romualdez, a banker and lawyer by profession, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the Ivy League school, Cornell University, and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University.

He earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines and is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD).

He was also the House independent bloc leader of the 16th Congress during the Aquino administration.

On the other hand, Cayetano served three terms as a member of the House of Representatives, two terms as senator, and was former secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

He finished his college degree in UP and graduated at Ateneo Law School.

Velasco earned a degree in Bachelor of Science in Business Management from De La Salle University and completed his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Santo Tomas. (PNA)

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