By Ellson Quismorio
If congressmen learned anything from last year’s House Speakership coup, it’s that the next leader of the 304-member chamber must have acceptability and must not be divisive.
“Acceptability is very significant, after all, the candidate will be judged based on his personality and the motivation for his running,” Oriental Mindoro 1st district Rep. Doy Leachon said Sunday.
“Lessons from the recent change of House leadership are material–that House members are inclined to support a leader who knows well his members and their needs and sentiments. Someone that they can always confide with without political barriers or considerations,” Leachon, chairman of the House Committee on Justice, said, referring to the headline-grabbing ouster of Davao del Norte 1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker in July 2018.
Former president, Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was chosen as the new Speaker in place of Alvarez, whose bruising style of leadership had supposedly rubbed his colleagues the wrong way. In the end, the Mindanao lawmaker only served as Speaker for the first and second regular sessions of the 17th Congress.
There are around half a dozen House members vying for the Speakership in the 18th Congress.
For his part, Negros Oriental 3rd district Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. said the aspirants should not only be acceptable, but also have the support of the majority of their colleagues.
“Everybody is acceptable, but one has more numbers,” Teves said, without naming anyone in particular.
“If there will be no chosen one [by Malacañang] then the one with most numbers, meaning more acceptable to more members, will have a better chance [at becoming Speaker],” he noted.
Earlier, House Minority Leader and Quezon 3rd district Rep. Danilo Suarez said a manifesto of support with at least 153 congressmen’s signature has been circulating to expresses support for the Speakership bid of incoming Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin Romualdez, on condition that President Duterte won’t endorse any candidate.
“Congressman Martin is the most acceptable, competent and experienced among the candidates in the Speakership race. Martin is the congressman of the congressmen and has been enjoying the support of our colleagues,” said Suarez, who last month was elected Quezon governor.
Meanwhile, Albay 2nd district Rep. Joey Salceda said Romualdez’s track record and admirable persuasion skills will become an asset to the Duterte administration’s pursuit of the needed reforms to guarantee the country’s economic takeoff.
Romualdez is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and political party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD). He was the House Independent Bloc leader of the 16th Congress.