More and more lawmakers are supporting the speakership bid of Leyte Rep.-elect Martin Romualdez, a House leader said Wednesday.
At a news conference, House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said more than 153 congressmen have already signed the manifesto of support for Romualdez.
“It’s enough to win [the speaker’s race]. The magic number is 153 and I think he (Romualdez) has more than [that],” Suarez told reporters.
Suarez said he believes Romualdez is most qualified candidate for Speaker given his track record in public service.
Romualdez is the president of the Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) and also of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats. He was the leader of House independent bloc of the 16th Congress.
Romualdez holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Cornell University, and a Certificate of Special Studies in Administration and Management from Harvard University. He also earned his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines.
Given his track record, Suarez said Romualdez will be able to effectively push the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Suarez, however, said some of the signatories said they would support Romualdez as long as the President and his daughter, Mayor Sara Duterte, do not endorse another candidate.
Suarez, meanwhile, dismissed Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez’s allegation that lawmakers are being offered as much as P500,000 for their votes in the speakership race.
Alvarez, who was ousted from the position, did not say who was offering the bribe.
“He used to be Speaker. Did he offered any [bribes]? Because he was claiming the House members are for sale. But I did not get any [bribe],” Suarez said.
He called Alvarez’s allegation “mere speculation” that could hurt the image of the House.