THE Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) signed on Wednesday a “Covenant of Unity” in the House of Representatives even as incoming Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez claimed more than 150 congressmen would support his bid for the speakership.
Lakas-CMD president and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez signed the covenant with Alvarez, who is PDP-Laban secretary-general, PDP-Laban vice chairman Alfonso Cusi.
Romualdez stressed the importance for the formation of a super majority in the Senate and House of Representatives to achieve the desired reforms of Duterte.
“The coalition for change agreement signifies our willingness to cooperate with one another in bringing out the change and reforms that incoming President Duterte wants,” said Romualdez who introduced other Lakas members to Alvarez at the Midas Hotel and Casino in Pasay City.
The Lakas members included incoming Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie M. Kittilstvedt-Romualdez, who will succeed her husband Martin.
“The agreement is about working for change. We will work together under the Duterte presidency to push people’s interests,” Kittilstvedt-Romualdez said.
The event was also attended by former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos.
At the same time, the 40-member Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc., headed by its president AGAP party-list Rep. Nicanor Briones, vowed to support the Duterte administration even as they also signed a separate agreement with PDP-Laban at the event.
One of the stalwarts of the party-list coalition in the Lower House, Cibac party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, said the party is committed to support the candidate for speakership “who can guarantee a fair and equitable distribution of positions and chairmanship in the House of Representatives.”
Tugna said the group vowed “to continue and strengthen our engagement in our duty to the people, through advancing vital advocacies and sectoral concerns of our members.”
Earlier, the Nacionalista Party of former Senate President Manuel Villar forged an alliance with PDP-Laban.
Alvarez, for his part, welcomed the support extended to him by other lawmakers from the Nationalist People’s Coalition, National Unity Party, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan and the 40-strong Party-list Coalition Foundation Inc.
“In behalf of the Duterte administration, we would like to sincerely thank you for your support and we have a lot of things to do to execute the changes that the Duterte administration have promised to the Filipino people,” Alvarez said.
“We hope that in the days to come, we shall be united in pursuing the legislation needed to effect the necessary changes,” he added.
Even allies of President Benigno Aquino III from the ruling Liberal Party (LP) attended yesterday’s political event like outgoing Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, a returning congressman, and Quirino Rep. Dax
For his part, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., LP vice president, reiterated that he will still join the speakership race in the next Congress and will not prevent his party-mates from supporting other candidate.
“Well I’m still the leader of the House of Representatives. Aside from being Speaker, currently I’m the de facto leader of the LP in the House which comprises 100-120 people. If only to keep them united and to be their rallying point, I need to be a candidate for speaker unless my party-mates choose another person which is okay with me,” Belmonte said.
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