House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez
By Junex Doronio
MANILA — Amid rumors that former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. may no longer seek any national office, his cousin House Majority Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez is reportedly setting his sights on the vice presidency 15 months from now.
Sources said it is uncertain if Marcos will really run for either president or vice president after his “devastating defeat” when the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, finally threw away his electoral protest for the 2016 vice presidential race.
Romualdez is concurrently serving as the Representative for the 1st district of Leyte, a position he previously held from 2007 to 2016. He unsuccessfully ran for senator in the 2016 elections.
Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sal Panelo had earlier revealed that even before the 2016 elections, there was talk that Marcos would run for president with Romualdez as his running mate.
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap, chair of the House appropriations committee, also confirmed that Duterte was eyeing Romualdez as the administration vice presidential bet when he made the remark on Dec. 28 last year during the signing of the 2021 budget or the General Appropriations Law.
“I heard it right from the President’s mouth,” Yap said, adding he was with Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, Sen. Bong Go, Deputy Speaker Abraham Tolentino, and House Minority Leader Joseph Stephen Paduano.
Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig City-Pateros reaffirmed.
“The President is a good judge of character, but it’s really up to the people and as you know, I worked well with Martin so I wish him well in his political career,” Cayetano, who is believed to be angling as the leader of the new opposition, quipped.
Sources said the opposition forces are now in disarray because Vice President Leni Robredo could not make up her mind to run president until September and may likely run for governor of Camarines Sur.
Expected to run for president are Marcos, Cayetano, Senators Manny Pacquiao, Bong Go, and Ping Lacson, and former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez who now leads the Reporma party.
Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio stood firm on her decision not to run for president.
Other vice presidential contenders include LP president Senator Kiko Pangilinan, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Senator Grace Poe.
The proverbial “dark horse” in either presidential or vice-presidential race could be Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia who dared to defy lockdown suggestions on the vote-rich province, citing the primacy of reviving their economy. (AI/MTVN)