When President Rodrigo Duterte expressed preference for House of Representatives Majority Leader Martin Romualdez as vice presidential bet of the administration coalition, the Chief Executive gave a chance for the faster rebuilding of Lakas-National Union of Christian Democrats-Kampi, a political analyst said Tuesday.
Political scientist Ramon Casiple said Romualdez, president of Lakas-NUCD-Kampi, was ”an excellent choice” since “he will provide balance to Duterte’s Mindanao bailiwick,” explaining Romualdez comes from a politically potent family from Leyte in the Visayas in addition to having a mother who belongs to a prominent family in Pampanga.
“That can be,” Casiple added, replying to a question when asked if Lakas-CMD could benefit from the virtual endorsement of the President for Romualdez as the administration coalition's vice presidential bet.
Earlier, former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano confirmed that Romualdez was Duterte’s preferred vice presidential bet in the 2022 presidential elections.
Cayetano, a congressman representing Taguig City-Pateros, said he first heard of the President’s offer in one of their meetings during the speakership fight.
”That is what he said in our (Cayetano, Romualdez and Speaker Lord Allan Velasco) meeting,” Cayetano told reporters.
Cayetano earlier said after ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, chairman of the House committee on appropriations, confirmed that Duterte maintained his preference for Romualdez as his vice presidential candidate during the signing of the P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021 in Malacañang last December 28.
“That day we talked about the term-sharing agreement, that vice presidential preference topic was not publicized but that is (sic) part of the agreement,” he said.
He quoted the President as saying he was impressed with Romualdez’s “sterling performance in steering the administration’s legislative agenda for the past two years despite the intramurals for speakership in the House of Representatives.”
Romualdez was lauded by Cayetano and several legislators for what they described as the Majority Leader's excellent work ethic, specifically at having secured the passage of Duterte’s legislative agenda and other priority measures vital to national survival amid coronavirus disease-19 pandemic.
In the fight for Speakership during the opening of the 18th Congress, Romualdez gave way to Cayetano and Velasco upon the prodding of Duterte who wanted him to be the Majority Leader under the so-called “Magellan Formula.”
It was in that meeting with Cayetano and Velasco that Duterte first broached the idea of supporting Romualdez as his chosen candidate for vice president in the 2021 elections.
The President reiterated his choice for Romualdez to be the vice presidential candidate when Cayetano and Velasco sought a meeting with the Chief Executive to settle the speakership row last October.
The President has repeatedly voiced out his preference for Romualdez as vice presidential bet in a series of private meetings with senators and congressmen, the latest of which took place during the signing of the 2021 General Appropriations Act in Malacanang last December 28.
Those who heard the President endorse Romualdez for the VP slot noted that the Chief Executive was serious in promoting the House Majority Leader as his chosen candidate.
Also present in that meeting were Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Christopher Go, Deputy Speaker Abraham Tolentino, House Minority Leader Stephen Paduano, and Yap.
When the President again mentioned the name of Romualdez as his vice presidential bet in the December 28 Malacañang meeting, those present were convinced that the Chief Executive has already made up his mind.