Martin Romualdez is the New House Speaker

Marcos Jr.'s cousin assumed the highest post in the chamber.
Photo/s: House Press and Public Affairs Bureau

(UPDATE) Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez was elected Monday as Speaker of the House of Representatives, a position that will allow him to play a crucial role in the passage of the legislative priorities of his cousin, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

A total of 283 lawmakers voted to elect Romualdez as their new leader following nominations from Representatives Sandro Marcos, Ralph Recto, Isidro Ungab, Roberto Puno, Camille Villar, Kristine Singson-Meehan, Raymond Mendoza, and Aurelio Gonzales.

Twenty-two members did not cast their vote, while four abstained, and one voted against Romualdez's election.

"I ask you all to accept the duty of service to the people. For you and I can do this all together as a team as we had in the previous Congress," Romualdez told his fellow lawmakers in a message following his election.

"The task ahead of us may be seemingly daunting, but our synergy is a seed that will nurture us for the ensuring years. We will work together to ensure that the House of Representatives truly embodies the will of the people," he added.

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Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was elected as senior deputy speaker, with Ungab, Puno, Villar, Singson-Meehan, and Mendoza elected as deputy speakers. Zamboanga Rep. Manuel Jose "Mannix" Dalipe was also elected House majority leader.

Arroyo was not able to attend the session in person as she tested positive for COVID-19.

Romualdez is the nephew of Marcos' mother, former First Lady Imelda Marcos, and is the president of Lakas-CMD party, the political party of Vice President Sara Duterte.

He previously expressed his intention to become House Speaker in the previous Congress, which saw the rivalry between then-Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Cayetano and Velasco ended up in term-sharing agreement, with the former sitting as House Speaker for the first 15 months and the latter taking over for the remaining 21 months of the 19th Congress. Romualdez went on to become the House Majority Leader for their entire term.

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