By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, one of the frontrunners in the Speakership race, said Wednesday he respects the decision of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) to endorse Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as its bet for Speakership.
However, he recognized that President Duterte still has the final word on the matter.
“We respect HNP’s endorsement of its Speakership candidate. However, we will await the President’s final say on the matter,” he said in a statement after the HNP endorsed Ungab’s bid for Speaker. Ungab previously served as the chairman of the House Committees on Ways and Means and Appropriations.
Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), recalled that in a statement issued last June 27, President Duterte took a hands-off stance on the Speakership issue, saying that he would not endorse any candidate.
“Going back to the President’s last statement (June 27), he maintained his neutrality in the Speakership race,” he said.
“In fact, the President told us, the Speakership candidates, that he would not meddle in the race and assured us also that he will not secretly pass on any order to support a candidate,” he added.
In a statement, the HNP proposed that Romulaldez take the chairmanship of the House Committee on Accounts, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, the Majority Leader position; and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations.
“We earnestly hope that everyone can see the light in this option and move forward with urgency in serving our country,” the HNP said.