Romualdez new House Speaker, Arroyo is senior Deputy Speaker; other leaders named

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin Romualdez presides during a session of the House of Representatives

By Jennifer Santos
QUEZON CITY — With the formal opening of Congress on July 25 in time for the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the House of Representatives elected its new leaders headed by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez who was overwhelmingly elected Speaker.
Romualdez, 58, a lawyer and president of Lakas-NUCD, was nominated by Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Sandro Marcos, and garnered 282 votes, 22 failed to vote and one objected.
Marcos’ nomination of Romualdez was seconded jointly by former Senator, now Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, Antipolo City Rep. Roberto Puno, Las Piñas City Rep. Camille Villar, llocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, TUCP Party-list Rep. Raymond Mendoza, and Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales seconded Marcos’ nomination.
Following the election of Romualdez, the lawmakers elected former President now Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as Senior Deputy Speaker and Reps. Isidro Ungab (3rd District, Davao City), Roberto Puno (First District, Antipolo City), Camille Villar (Lone District, Las Pinas City), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Second District, Ilocos Sur), and Raymund Democrito Mendoza (Party-list, TUCP) as Deputy Speakers.
Elected as Majority Floor leader was Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe who is on his third term as congressman of the Zamboanga City.
Later, the House also elected as Deputy Speakers Batangas Rep. Ralph Recto, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr., and Cebu Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco
The House members also unanimously elected Reginald Velasco as the new Secretary-General and Police Major General Napoleon Caballes Taas (Ret.) as Sergeant-at-Arms.
Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), in her speech nominating Rep. Dalipe, said the role of the Majority Leader is crucial in the proper and efficient legislative operation. She said the Majority Leader serves as the Speaker’s chief lieutenant or field commander.
“He is in charge of directing the deliberations on the floor and melding the diverse philosophies, viewpoints and agenda of all the members of the House,” she said as she described Dalipe as a man who possesses a great ability, skill, knowledge, legislative prowess and mastery of the legislative mill.
After hearing the President’s SONA, Romualdez said the lower chamber fully supports Marcos’ entire legislative agenda, as he vowed to act on these measures “with dispatch”.
“We, in the House of Representatives, expect to buckle down to work the soonest time possible in order to make President Marcos’ vision of a better nation a reality,” Romualdez said.

In his acceptance speech, Romualdez rallied his colleagues at the House of Representatives to work together “in unity” in passing key measures to support development and achieve the goal of leaving no one behind.

“We will work together to ensure that the House of Representatives truly embodies the will of the people. We will work hand-in-hand to ensure the swift passage of House measures that are needed by the people and would support development across all sectors of society and different levels of government. With unity of purpose, there is nothing that we cannot do,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez committed to ensure a “fair and equitable distribution of resources for development of our regions, regardless of political affiliation.”

“Every Filipino family must be included in any development agenda. No one gets left behind,” he said.

He thanked fellow lawmakers “for the honor” of choosing him to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 19th Congress.

“I gladly accept your trust and confidence with the promise that we will collectively work to make the 19th Congress the best it can possibly be,” he said.

He also thanked President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “for having espoused the message of unity, and for supporting the House, its leadership and its legislative agenda,” as well as Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte, who personally witnessed his election and oath-taking.

He urged his colleagues to accept the duty of service to the people for the House to “move together as a team”, stressing that there is strength there is unity.

“We are confident that with the unity that our President has espoused, we can actually overcome the crippling effects of this pandemic, political differences, or the impacts of the Ukrainian war,” he said.

He said though their task may be daunting, “Our synergy is the seed that will nurture us for the next three years.”

“With unity at the core of the government as a shared vision for the next six years, the House of Representatives requires, now more than ever, a leader that embodies inclusivity, possesses unquestionable competency, and feels genuinely for the people we are all duty bound to serve,” Marcos said in nominating Romualdez for Speaker.

“As such, among the distinguished members of this August chamber, the honorable Martin G. Romualdez is the most qualified to lead the House of Representatives to accomplish this formidable task,” Marcos added.

No other lawmaker has been nominated for the speakership post, and no objections to his election were raised.

Romualdez took his oath as the 24th Speaker before Tarlac Rep. Jaime Cojuangco, youngest member of the 19th Congress at age 25, as his wife, Tingog party-list Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, and his children, Andrew, Marty, Minxie, and Maddey looked on, during the ceremony at the House of Representatives’ rostrum.

In his acceptance speech, Romualdez rallied his colleagues at the House of Representatives to work together “in unity” in passing key measures to support development and achieve the goal of leaving no one behind.

“We will work together to ensure that the House of Representatives truly embodies the will of the people. We will work hand-in-hand to ensure the swift passage of House measures that are needed by the people and would support development across all sectors of society and different levels of government. With unity of purpose, there is nothing that we cannot do,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez committed to ensure a “fair and equitable distribution of resources for development of our regions, regardless of political affiliation”.

“Every Filipino family must be included in any development agenda. No one gets left behind,” he said.

He thanked fellow lawmakers “for the honor” of choosing him to serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives for the 19th Congress.

“I gladly accept your trust and confidence with the promise that we will collectively work to make the 19th Congress the best it can possibly be,” he said.

He also thanked President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “for having espoused the message of unity, and for supporting the House, its leadership and its legislative agenda,” as well as Education Secretary and Vice President Sara Duterte, who personally witnessed his election and oath-taking.

He urged his colleagues to accept the duty of service to the people for the House to “move together as a team”, stressing that there is strength there is unity.

“We are confident that with the unity that our President has espoused, we can actually overcome the crippling effects of this pandemic, political differences, or the impacts of the Ukrainian war,” he said.

He said though their task may be daunting, “Our synergy is the seed that will nurture us for the next three years.”

To complete its new officers, the House later elected more committee chairpersons. Among them were: Abang Lingkod Partylist Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano for the Committee on Public Accounts; Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Francisco Benitez for the Committee on Housing and Urban Development; Ifugao Rep. Solomon Chungalao for the Committee on Agrarian Reform; Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Mark Enverga for the Committee on Agriculture and Food;

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Marañon III for the Committee on Aquaculture and Fisheries Resources; Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers for the Committee on Dangerous Drugs; Dinagat Islands Rep. Alan Ecleo for the Committee on Disaster Resilience; Cavite Rep. Antonio Ferrer for the Committee on Games and Amusements; Parañaque City Rep. Edwin Olivarez for the Committee on Government Enterprises and Privatization; Zamboanga del Norte Rep. Glona Labadlabad for the Committee on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy;

Rizal Rep. Juan Fidel Felipe Nograles for the Committee on Labor and Employment; Parañaque City Rep. Gus Tambunting for the Committee on Legislative Franchises; Valenzuela City Rep. Rex Gatchalian for the Committee on Local Government; Manila Rep. Rolando Valeriano for the Committee on Metro Manila Development; Misamis Oriental Rep. Christian Unabia for the Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Kabayan Partylist Rep. Ron Salo for the Committee on Overseas Workers Affairs; San Jose Del Monte City Rep. Florida Robes for the Committee on People’s Participation;

Santa Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez for the Committee on Public Order and Safety; Masbate Rep. Wilton Kho for the Committee on Rural Development; Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop for the Committee on Transportation; COOP NATCCO Partylist Rep. Felimon Espares for the Committee on Ethics and Privileges; AGAP Partylist Rep. Nicanor Briones for the Committee on Cooperatives Development; Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia for the Special Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts; Sultan Kudarat Rep. Princess Rihan Sakaluran for the Special Committee on East ASEAN Growth Area; Ang Probinsyano Partylist Rep. Alfred Delos Santos for the Special Committee on Globalization and WTO; as well as Laguna Rep. Ruth Mariano-Hernandez for the Special Committee on Southern Tagalog Development.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.