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Although there is no clear picture yet on who will President Rodrigo Duterte endorse as his successor, it seems the chief executive already has a preferred choice who may run for vice president.

Congressional insiders told Politiko that if the President will have his way, he prefers House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte) to be the administration coalition’s vice-presidential bet in the 2022 polls.

Duterte reportedly has repeatedly voiced out his preference for Romualdez as the country’s next no. 2 man 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 legislators, who heard the President’s preference for Romualdez for being his choice as the country’s next VP during the recent budget signing, noted that Duterte was serious in promoting the Leyte solon as his chosen candidate for VP.

Duterte was reportedly impressed with Romualdez’s sterling performance and admirable work ethic in steering the administration’s legislative agenda for the past two years despite the Speakership scuffle between current House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and his immediate predecessor, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

Also present the budget signing were Velasco, Senate President Tito Sotto, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Finance Committee chair Sonny Angara, Sen. Bong Go, Sen. Francis Tolentino, House Minority Leader Stephen Paduano, and House Appropriations Committee chair Eric Yap.

One of the congressional insiders claimed that this was not the first time the President has voiced out his preference for Romualdez as his bet for VP.

It was in that meeting with Cayetano and Velasco for the Speakership row last October in Malacañang, where Duterte first broached the idea of supporting Romualdez as his chosen candidate for vice president in the 2022 elections.

That’s why when the President again mentioned the name of Romualdez again last December 28 during a meeting at the Palace, several of those present were apparently convinced that the chief executive had already made up his mind for the Leyte solon.

In the fight for Speakership during the opening of the 18th Congress, despite being the supposed frontrunner, Romualdez has paved the way for Cayetano and Velasco upon the prodding of President Duterte who wanted him to be the Majority Leader under the so-called “Magellan Formula.” (CMC)

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