By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Former Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is reportedly interested in becoming the next Speaker of the House of Representatives this coming 18th Congress, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte disclosed.
In a recent interview in Pateros, Duterte said Romualdez might seek the House leadership this July amid the impending retirement of former President and incumbent Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“Nabalitaan ko na interested din si soon to be Congressman Martin Romualdez,” she said.
Romualdez, president of the once powerful Lakas Christian-Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) is a nephew of former First Lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez Marcos and first cousin of administration senatorial bet and incumbent Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos.
The former Leyte solon, who is running unopposed in his district, is also reportedly the so-called chosen one of Mrs. Arroyo to succeed her when she retires this coming June 30.
Duterte’s statement came after the ruling administration party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan’s (PDP Laban) pronouncement last week over the possibility of having her staunch nemesis ousted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to return to his old post as House Speaker.
Duterte said the political party chaired by her father President Rodrigo Duterte should shorten its list of possible candidates for Speaker since there are many strong contenders for the post such as Romualdez and former Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Another contender for House Speaker is reportedly Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, son son of retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco.
The Marinduque solon is a known close friend of Mayor Duterte. He has helping the Davao City mayor in the campaign sorties of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) party.
Meanwhile, the National Unity Party (NUP) is reportedly fielding incumbent House Majority Floor Leader and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro as their main bet for the leadership change this July.