Duterte backs Martin Romualdez's possible VP bid

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 12) — Three years before the 2022 national elections, President Rodrigo Duterte is already endorsing a possible vice presidential candidate.

Malacañang on Friday confirmed that the President in an exclusive interview said he would back Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez if the solon runs as Vice President.

Duterte was quoted as saying, "Romualdez is my VP," calling him a good man.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in a text message to reporters, said Duterte made no mention of his preferred successor.

Romualdez earlier eyed the House Speaker post, and was even considered by some of his colleagues as the most qualified. Romualdez, however, backed out of the hotly contested race after the President chose him as Majority Leader. Duterte instead supported a term sharing between Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. All three are Duterte's allies, that's why the President earlier refused to endorse anyone.

Romualdez is returning to the House after a three-year hiatus following his defeat in the 2016 senatorial race, where he was endorsed by then-Mayor Duterte and then-Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Romualdez, kin of the powerful Marcos clan, is nephew of former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

He is the President of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, former party of incumbent House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.