Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) Chairman and Senate President Vicente Vicente “Tito” Sotto gives his thumbs up sign and declares full support for House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep Martin Romualdez as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives in the upcoming 19th Congress during the NPC Fellowship and Thanksgiving dinner Saturday night in Makati City. NPC is the second largest political party in the country. Photo by VER NOVENO
THE Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) has formalized its backing of the Speakership bid of House Majority Leader and Leyte 1st District Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, who –along with his cousin, presumptive President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. –is expected to work hard to rebuild a post-pandemic Philippines.
Romualdez, president of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) and leading speakership contender, took part in NPC’s fellowship dinner hosted by NPC Secretary General Mark Llandro “Dong” Mendoza and Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga Saturday night at the Makati Diamond Residences.
At the dinner, NPC chairman and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III made official the party’s support for Romualdez’s bid to become Speaker in the 19th Congress.
“With the authority given to me, I hereby declare that the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) in the House of Representatives will support the speakership of Martin Romualdez. I mentioned it before, but tonight (Saturday) we make it official,” Sotto said.
“We assure you (party members) that this party has always been there, strong, will remain strong and under the leadership of the new Speaker Martin Romualdez, I’m sure that we will have a very good 19th Congress in the House of Representatives,” Sotto said, adding that the NPC is always the second largest and the most loyal political party in the country.
NPC stalwart and Rizal 1st District Rep. Jack Duavit said the NPC is a solid partner of Romualdez in pursuing the legislative agenda of the incoming administration.
“We just like you (Romualdez) to know that we are not just going to be your partners, we are always your friends, you can count on our support because we know that your cousin and yourself are out to rebuild this nation and we want to be a part of that and we want to be a part of that success,” Duavit said in his speech.
Senator-elect Chiz Escudero also assured Romualdez that NPC will be his steady partner in the next Congress.
“Hindi man nagnanais ang NPC Speaker Martin na maging kasingdami ng ibang partido, matitiyak naman namin ang isang bagay na nakita ko na at naganap sa ilang dekada ko na sa pulitika, ang NPC hindi man ganun karami, iisa ang paninindigan, iisa ang posisyon at palaging nagkakaisa sa iisang layunin, mithiin at pangarap para sa ating bansa, sa ilalim ng iyong liderato sa Kamara, naniniwala ako malaki ang papel na puwedeng gampanan ng mga miyembro ng NPC para isulong ang iyong mga mithiin bilang bagong Speaker ng Kamara de Representantes,” Escudero said.
Romualdez thanked outgoing Senate President Sotto for the reiteration of support.
“Salamat po sa NPC, sa chairperson, Senate President Tito Sotto. As you know I have always admired you from a far because at the Lower House, we would always watch what you would do, a true leader, a consensus-builder. You have steered the Senate through troubled waters and you always navigated [in the right direction]. That’s why we admire you and the party, the NPC that you symbolize and represent. Maraming-maraming salamat po sa lahat ng tulong at suporta,” Romualdez said.
“We are very inspired and we are very elated sa mga sinabi mo (Duavit) that you would like to be part of the nation-building with President-elect Bongbong Marcos,” Romualdez said. “It will be very important to hit the ground running so to speak.”
“We will have a great partnership with the Senate and of course in consonance with the legislative agenda of the [incoming] administration. I am sure that at the heels of this pandemic, we will be at the road to recovery not just health wise, but economically, that’s what we look forward,” Romualdez said.
“The theme of the campaign of President BBM was unity and that’s what I environ most in NPC, you always have this unity in the party, tonight I see this unity, I see this unity spreading not just within Congress, but within the country,” Romualdez said.
“When you work together as one, we can face all these challenges together, with that, I’m assured that this country will rise again and succeed, maraming-maraming salamat sa suporta n’yo, mabuhay ang NPC,” he said.
NPC stalwarts and Senators-elect Win Garchalian, JV Ejercito and Loren Legarda also attended the event.
In past interviews, Romualdez has echoed the need for unity and cooperation in order to pull the country out of the economic slump triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This type of unity can start with the country’s legislators, who are apparently converging toward a single direction under the incoming Marcos administration.
The NPC bloc, composed of 39 House members, has promised to support Romualdez’s proposed Bayan Bangon Muli or BBM stimulus package bill, which is poised to become the first pandemic-response measures of the Marcos government.
During the meeting, the NPC congressmen also reiterated their May 15 statement supporting Romualdez, the majority leader of the outgoing 18th Congress.
In their statement, they said Romualdez “has the experience and aptitude that will effectively unify the House of Representatives in the passage of important and crucial legislative reforms for the country and the Filipino people” under the Marcos administration.
Other political parties in the House that have also expressed their support for the House leader include PDP-Laban, National Unity Party, Party-list Coalition Foundation, Inc., Nacionalista Party, Liberal Party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago, Lakas-CMD, the group of independents, and neophyte or first-term congressmen. By RYAN PONCE PACPACO