Returning Leyte solon may win speakership if Duterte won’t endorse anyone – House minority leader

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Incoming Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is the nephew of graft convict and former Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 27) — Reelected Leyte First District Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez could be voted the next House Speaker in the 18th Congress if President Rodrigo Duterte does not make his pick, insofar as the House Minority is concerned.

Minority Leader and Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez said Monday a number of lawmakers have expressed willingness to cross party lines to vote for Romualdez to lead the House. Romualdez is the nephew of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.

“You have the NP (Nacionalista Party), you have the NUP (National Unity Party), you have the NPC (Nationalist People’s Coalition) and the group of independents, the party-list,” Suarez said.

Suarez earlier said 126 lawmakers have signed a manifesto supporting Romualdez's speakership bid.

“Lahat sinasabi nila kung wala din lang sasabihin ang administrasyon sino ang preferred nilang speaker, lamang na si Congressman Romualdez,” he explained.

[Translation: All of them are saying that if the administration does not vouch for their preferred speaker, Congressman Romualdez will take the lead.]

Suarez added even outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will vote for Romualdez.

“If GMA will be given the option to nominate or make a statement kung sino ang preferred niyang maging lider ng [who will she prefer to be leader of] House in the 18 Congress, I think she will recommend Congressman Romualdez,” she said.

Arroyo has kept mum on her endorsement, although Romualdez is the president of her party, Lakas-CMD.

Other lawmakers vying for the House leadership are Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano, reelected Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco and reelected Davao del Norte Representative and former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

Velasco and Cayetano earlier claimed they have the support of the President.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.