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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

2028 election speculation ‘premature’, says Speaker

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Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Friday said it is premature to talk about the 2028 national elections at this time.

Romualdez made the statement amid recent attacks against the House of Representatives from former president Rodrigo Duterte, after the institution slashed P650 million in confidential and intelligence funds of two offices headed by his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.

Meanwhile, ACT-CIS Rep. Erwin Tulfo said there is “no substance” todiscussions among congressmen about filing an impeachment complaintagainst the Vice President, who has been at odds with lawmakers over her requests, since withdrawn, for secret funds in next year’s national budget.

“I am grateful for the former President’s engagement with the political discourse, and I understand the curiosity surrounding the 2028 elections. However, I believe it is important to focus on thepresent challenges facing our nation. We are currently dealing withsignificant economic, public health, and regional issues that demand our immediate attention,” Romualdez said of Duterte in a statement.

The House chief said the country’s leaders need to attend to so many challenges to uplift the people’s live than talk about 2028 elections.

“Marami pang problema ang mga Pilipino na kailangang bigyan ng solusyon. Hindi eleksyon ang sagot sa sikmurang gutom (Filipinos are with many other problems that need to be solved. Elections are not the answer to gut issues),” he said.

Romualdez stressed: “As Speaker of the House of Representatives, my priority is to promote unity and collaboration across all political lines. This is a time to put aside rumors and speculations about future elections and concentrate on what we can achieve together for the betterment of our country and the welfare of the Filipino people.”

The Speaker also responded to rumors of his alleged plan to seek a higher government post.

“Regarding my personal political aspirations, I am currently committed to my role as Speaker and serving the needs of our nation. My focus is on the present responsibilities and not on future electoral possibilities.”

He also expressed hopes that the former president “continues to lend his support and expertise.”

“I also wish to acknowledge the valuable contributions of our formerpresident, Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” Romualdez said. “His continuedinvolvement is crucial as we strive to overcome the challenges we face. Our collective efforts are vital for the progress and prosperity of the Philippines.”

Meanwhile, Tulfo was responding to the comments of ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, who claimed in a television interview late Wednesday night that certain leaders of political parties in the House were talking about impeaching the Vice President.

Castro was quoted as saying in a One News interview that “Wala [sausapan ang impeachment] as far as Makabayan [bloc] is concerned, pero pinag-uusap-usapan rito ng mga congressman kung merong magfa-file, mga tsismisan, na baka may mag file, inaantay lang iyong complaint.

Napag-uusapan ng ilang miyembro iyong tungkol rito sa impeachment… sa Vice President. Iba’t ibang leaders ng political parties [ang nag-uusap].”

(There are no talks as far as the Makabayan bloc is concerned, but some congressmen have been talking about who would file a complaint, and they were waiting for it. Some members of Congress have talked about the impeachment, of the Vice President. Various leaders of political parties were talking.)

But in clarifying her statement, Castro on Friday said such supposed talks “are mere discussions of some congressmen and not a serious move against Vice President Sara Duterte.”

Tulfo, meanwhile, said: “I reached out to leaders, including Congressman Zaldy (Co) and the Speaker, to address rumors circulating in Congress. However, there is no substance to these discussions; no such thing has been deliberated among party leaders or the House leadership.”

He was referring to Speaker Romualdez and House Committee on Appropriations chairperson and Ako-Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co.

House Majority Leader and Zamboanga Rep. Mannix Dalipe earlier dismissed as “baseless” the rumors of attempts to have the Vice President impeached, saying they were “detrimental to political unity.”

He stressed that such “unfounded” rumors are “mere attempts to sow discord between Vice President Sara Duterte and Speaker Martin Romualdez, and there is no truth in them.”

Tulfo explained that the Vice President did not commit an impeachable offense to begin with, and that an impeachment complaint, which emanates from the House, will only prosper if it has merit.

“Perhaps, in the future, with additional facts, details may emerge, altering the situation. However, currently, there’s no substance, and it requires further review. As per the leadership, there’s no discussion or plan for impeachment when we return on Monday,” he said.

“The goal is to unite for the people and progress, not against Sara Duterte or her family. The Speaker’s instructions before leaving for the US were to continue working and passing laws needed by the Executive Department,” he added.

Romualdez is in San Francisco, United States as part of President Marcos’ delegation to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

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