House adopts resolution defending the institution from baseless criticisms    

THE House of Representatives on Monday adopted a report from the Committee of the Whole on a resolution upholding the integrity and honor of the institution and expressing appreciation and solidarity to the leadership of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez following repeated baseless and unfounded attacks.

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose “Mannix” M. Dalipe (Zamboanga City), sponsored the report on House Resolution (HR) No. 1414 to protect the 310-strong House of Representatives from being maligned any further.   

“Seeing how the House leadership continuously changes the lives of many, enthuses me and the majority of the Members of this august chamber to support the leadership of Speaker Romualdez. The encompassing majority believes that if we continue to work together, the House of Representatives could more effectively alleviate poverty, build on a stronger future ahead, and compete on efficiencies through laws, measures, and policies that strengthen our republic, and address the most pressing issues confronting us today. The majority believes that this chamber could achieve all these and many more, under the thriving and inspirational leadership of Speaker Romualdez,” Dalipe said in sponsoring the report of the Committee of the Whole on adopted HR No. 1414.

Seven Deputy Speakers led by Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Jr. (Pampanga) have signed HR No. 1414. The six other Deputy Speakers include Ralph Recto (Batangas), Camille A. Villar, Vincent Franco “Duke” D. Frasco (Cebu), Roberto V. Puno (Antipolo City), Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur), and Raymond Democrito C. Mendoza (TUCP).

Other House leaders who have signed the resolution were Dalipe, Minority Leader Marcelino “Nonoy” Libanan (4Ps), Senior Deputy Majority Leader Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” A. Marcos (Ilocos Norte), and Reps. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez (TINGOG), and Jude Acidre (TINGOG), Zaldy Co (Ako Bicol), Robert Ace Barbers (Surigao del Norte), Toby M. Tiangco (Navotas), Angelica Natasha Co (BHW), Brian Raymund S. Yamsuan (Bicol Saro), LRay Villafuerte (Camarines Sur), Albert S. Garcia (Bataan), Johnny Pimentel (Surigao del Sur), Jurdin Jesus M. Romualdo (Camiguin), Michael John R. Duavit (Rizal), Wilfrido Mark M. Enverga (Quezon), and Jose “Joboy” S. Aquino II (Agusan del Norte).

 “While we recognize that legitimate criticisms are but part of the organs of democracy, we are unfazed. We continue to improve the delivery of our constitutionally-mandated obligation to serve the people through legislation,” Dalipe said.

“It is therefore but proper that we stand firm in support of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for his exceptional, reformative, and effective leadership. Let us also continue to uphold the integrity and honor of the House of Representatives as it continues to exemplify the essence of democracy, ensuring the voice of Filipinos, through their elected representatives, is valued and acted upon in a form of legislation,” Dalipe added.

“The House has always taken criticisms as part and parcel of a healthy, vibrant, and working democracy, but it takes exception to statements made that undermine the independence, integrity, and reputation of the institution,” the congressmen stated in HR No. 1414.    

“As a source of our strength and inspiration, we support the Speaker’s relentless dedication in amplifying the voice of every Representative, regardless of the challenges and barriers encountered as demonstrated by his staunch commitment to preserving the democratic values,” they said.   

Congressmen lamented that “couched statements with threats or insinuations of physical harm to a sitting Member of Congress” have been made, even if the Speaker and other House members were only doing their job as elected members of the country’s lawmaking body.    

“In these turbulent times, it is crucial for us to stand firmly behind our Speaker’s leadership, preserving the honor and integrity of the House and pledging our allegiance and unity in opposition to any entity aiming to destabilize the core of our democratic institution,” they said.

In his sponsorship speech during the Committee of the Whole, Gonzales cited Speaker Romualdez’s exemplary leadership responsible for maintaining a dynamic, socially coherent, and independent legislature and his unwavering commitment to defending the dignity, integrity, and reputation of the House of Representatives.  

“We are deeply touched by the strong leadership of Speaker Romualdez who chose to uphold the dignity and honor of our beloved institution and its members.  With a stalwart leader like Speaker Romualdez, we are confident that no matter what obstacles may come our way, we will always stand strong and we will continue to perform the mandate entrusted to us by the people,” Gonzales, who resigned Monday as member and official of PDP-Laban during Committee of the Whole deliberation on HR No. 1414, said. 

Also during the Committee of the Whole, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD), National Unity Party (NUP), Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), Nacionalista Party (NP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI), and Partido Navoteño also expressed full support to the House leadership.

“The public confidence affirms the solid and effective leadership of the Speaker in uplifting the welfare of all Filipinos,” Aquino, Lakas-CMD secretary general, said referring to the 60 percent and 61 percent trust and performance ratings, respectively, of Speaker Romualdez in the recent Octa Research survey conducted between September 30 and October 4, 2023.

“Indeed, the House of Representatives has become the true embodiment of the ‘House of the People’ because Speaker Romualdez’s collaborative and unifying leadership has ensured the swift passage of people-centered and pro-poor legislation.

I would like to commend Speaker Romualdez on his ‘first-in-last-out’ brand of leadership that inspired members of the House and the secretariat to collectively work hard with unwavering commitment, resulting in meaningful legislation for the benefit of the Filipino people. Let us be mindful that these trust ratings are a testament to the dedication of Speaker Romualdez to maintain the integrity of this august chamber and inspire every one of us to work as hard and perform the mandate entrusted to us by the people,” Aquino said.  

Garcia, NUP official, said the party expressed its full support to the House leadership in its continued efforts to provide quality service through the steadfast passage of various measures that promote sustainable growth for the people.

“Through the unwavering leadership of Speaker Romualdez, this legislative chamber is able to aid the President’s objective of building a robust economy post-pandemic and ensure that social and economic opportunities are accessible for every Filipino. Under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, the House was able to pass all 20 priority bills identified by the President and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) before the year 2023 ends. In addition to this, there have been a significant number of measures crafted to propel economic recovery and continuous development for every sector,” Garcia said.

“We support the move to improve spending efficiency through the realignment of confidential government funds in the proposed 2024 General Appropriations Act to other budget priorities in order to further uphold the President’s socioeconomic agenda and to promote greater budget transparency, openness, and accountability. Being at the forefront of public service, we see this declaration as an integral move to address the urgent needs of our fellow countrymen. The NUP deeply appreciates the efforts of the House leadership in ensuring that this legislative chamber continues to be unified in working hand-in-hand to overcome the rising economic and security concerns of our country. This is the best time to show that this August Chamber stands as one in support of the President’s pursuit of guaranteeing the security and stability of our nation,” Garcia added.

Pimentel said members of the PDP-Laban stand behind Speaker Romualdez’s leadership and acknowledged his exceptional performance as evidenced by the substantial increase in his trust ratings from 38% to 60% between 2022 and 2023 from the Octa Research survey. 

“This remarkable achievement underscores his sterling commitment to serve the Filipino people and recognizes the reality that we are truly in the right direction in effecting unity and change in the service of our people. We can do more and we can still do better,” Pimentel said. “A visionary and activist in equal measure, Speaker Romualdez’s leadership style has truly transformed the House of Representatives into a genuine ‘House of the People. His commitment to align legislative work with the needs of our fellow Filipinos and pro-poor initiatives is both admirable and inspiring, and reflects the results of these recent surveys.”

“It is imperative that we promote a unified and unifying leadership for our people at these critical times. with the hard work, dedication, and commitment to principled unity of our members, Congress will continue to provide steadfast and solid support for the legislative priorities of this administration,” Pimentel said.

Barbers, a stalwart of NP, said the strong leadership of Speaker Romualdez ensures that each and every Member of the House is able to perform their duties as duly elected representatives of the people with conviction and pride, as they work on legislation for the betterment of the country.

“His strong work ethic and quiet but purposeful leadership is also a valuable asset to the current administration. Under his guidance, the House of Representatives was able to pass the General Appropriations Bill in record time and passed months ahead of schedule all twenty (20) LEDAC priority measures targeted for 2023. We also take this opportunity to congratulate the Honorable Speaker for garnering a trust rating of 60 percent and a satisfaction rating of 61 percent, as reflected in the latest OCTA survey ratings. Indeed, it is clear that our confidence in the leadership of Speaker Romualdez is a sentiment shared by the Filipino people,” Barbers said.

Duavit, NPC president, said Speaker Romualdez’s leadership has been responsible for crafting legislation aimed at improving the lives of the Filipino people.

PBA Rep. Margarita “Atty. Migs” B. Nograles, representing PCFI, mentioned the Speaker’s steadfast dedication to upholding the principles of transparency, accountability, and ethical governance.  

“His unwavering commitment to these values has played a pivotal role in revitalizing public trust in our institution and fortifying the credibility of the House of Representatives as the voice of the people. As members of the party list coalition, we stand united in our appreciation and solidarity with Speaker Romualdez.  We pledge to continue working in unison with him and our fellow lawmakers to fulfill our mandate of advancing the welfare and interests of the marginalized sectors we represent,” the PCFI said.

For his part, Tiangco, founder of the Partido Navoteño, also cited the impressive ratings of Speaker Romualdez.

“I join the esteemed leaders of all political parties in the House of Representatives in congratulating Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez for his high trust rating based on OCTA research’s latest report. According to the third quarter survey by Octa Research, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez has garnered a 60% trust rating and a 61% performance rating, an increase of 6% from July to October 4 of this year and a significant 22% increase from 2022,” Tiangco said. 

“The House of Representatives and its members are always ready to make our beloved Philippines a peaceful, strong, and prosperous nation. and we shall remain steadfast in addressing pressing issues that impact ordinary Filipinos, without an iota of doubt, our collective action will continue to pursue responsive and relevant legislation to address social iniquities and economic disparities. The House of Representatives, under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, will persist in bringing about policies that will enhance the well-being of every Filipino,” Tiangco added.

Under HR No. 1414, the lawmakers also decreed that they would not hesitate to protect one of their own if need be.   

“The safety and security of each member of the House, while in the performance of their duties, will always remain paramount, and the House remains committed to achieving unity for the betterment of the country,” they declared.   

The resolution upheld in particular the “integrity and honor” of the House of Representatives, which also expressed the “appreciation, solidarity and support” to Speaker Romualdez’s leadership from the criticisms that were – at the very least – uncalled for.   

The legislators made it clear, at the same time, that the “dignity, integrity and reputation of the House of Representatives are of utmost importance and must be preserved at all times,” so as to prevent it from being defamed even more. 

Likewise, they lauded Speaker Romualdez, who, “in the face of adversity, has remained steadfast in defending the integrity and honor of this revered institution against the machinations and intrigues of those driven by personal ambitions and power.”

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