Martin is my bet

"He has the best experience to lead the House of Representatives."


There are three names perceived to be vying to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives. They are Martin Romualdez, Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco.

All three have been endorsed by presidential daughter Sara Duterte Carpio. Cayetano is claiming President Rodrigo Duterte wants him to be Speaker.

The question is, who will make the best Speaker?

I’m going for Romualdez.

Let’s go by track record in lawmaking. This, after all, is the main qualification of Speaker. Romualdez is the best among the three because he has been a lawmaker for a long time. His experience during Typhoon “Yolanda” also counts for a lot.

Of course I am biased in favor of the Romualdezes. I have known the family for a long time. His late father, Koko Romualdez, was my best friend. His mother Juliette is the aunt of Juliet Dycaico who married the first cousin of my wife, Nenita Kapunan.

* * *

When I go out for coffee with friends, they always ask me the same question—“Who do you think will make it in the May elections?”

My answers have been (not necessarily in this order): Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Pia Cayetano, Bong Go, Lito Lapid, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Bato dela Rosa, Mar Roxas and Koko Pimentel.

Other names like JV Ejercito, Bam Aquino, Francis Tolentino and Serge Osmeña are probably within the winning circle.

Still, this lineup can change. Why are the reelectionists leading the race? Why are the favorites of President Duterte now part of the Magic 12? Why is there only one possible oppositionist in the winning circle? What influence does President Duterte have on the Senate race?

Note that Duterte is campaigning for Dela Rosa, Go and Tolentino as if he were the one running for office. This makes a lot of difference. The way the President is going, it’s not far-fetched for Tolentino to win, as well.

What I consider tragic is that there is only one oppositionist in the winning circle. All opposition candidates with the exception of Mar Roxas are neophytes or unknowns. The opposition will still be the minority, and the Senate will then be a lackey of Duterte.

For an institution like the Senate to be under the thumb of the President is doubly tragic because the Senate is supposed to provide checks and balances to the Executive branch.

* * *

As for the local front, I hate to say it but the usual political dynasties will prevail. The people will continue to gravitate toward those who have money and power.

That is the reason why in Metro Manila, reelectionist mayors are likely to prevail. The neophytes will just lose.

In the city of Manila, for instance, Erap Estrada and his vice mayor Amado Bagatsing will certainly win.

So will Makati Mayor Abby Binay and her running mate Monique Lagdameo. As residents of Makati, my wife and I believe in the leadership of Mayor Abby.

In Quezon City, it will be Joy Belmonte.

* * *

In the provinces, the people always go for the candidate with money to throw around. It doesn’t matter if the candidate is pereived to be corrupt, or a drug lord. Nothing has changed much, really.

The masses always go for thoe who appear approachable, with money to throw around.

I have heard some congressmen say that their constituents line up at their gates so early in the morning to ask for funds for all purposes, and to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have to put up tents for this purpose!

This is why the pork barrel system, despite the fact that the Supreme Court has declared it unconstitutional, continues to prevail. My gulay, why do you think the 2019 national budget was delayed?

Topics: Emil Jurado , Martin is my bet , Speaker of the House of Representatives , Martin Romualdez , Alan Peter Cayetano , Lord Allan Velasco
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