Romualdez: Uniteam still intact despite House row with Dutertes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 13) — The alliance between the Marcoses and the Dutertes remains solid despite a recent leadership shakeup in the House of Representatives, Speaker Martin Romualdez said on Monday.

"We always work together. It's still a Uniteam. The President always wants us to work together, not just in Congress, with the executive, but as a country. We always start from that. As I always say, there will always be differences, but we will always work towards resolving those differences for the service of the Filipino people," he said.

The shakeup was triggered by tirades from former President Rodrigo Duterte in a TV interview in October, accusing the lower chamber of corruption and calling it the "most rotten institution" in the country after secret funds of offices led by his daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte, were transferred to agencies focusing on national security.

Last week, the lower chamber adopted House Resolution 1414 upholding its "integrity and honor" and expressing support for Romualdez.

A day after adopting the resolution, the House replaced as deputy speakers former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who are known allies of the vice president.

Both Arroyo and Ungab did not sign House Resolution 1414, though the former President said she continues to support Romualdez.

Romualdez said he and the Dutertes are working towards resolving their differences in keeping with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s directive to unite in serving the country.

Asked if he can still trust the Dutertes, Romualdez replied: "Of course."

The Speaker also said he's "very, very hopeful" that the House's relationship with the Dutertes will improve following the Vice President's decision to give up her request for ₱650 million in confidential funds under the proposed ₱5.768-trillion national budget for 2024.

"I believe that's the right decision. We hail VP Sara's decision," he added.

Romualdez led the flag raising ceremony at the House ahead of his 60th birthday on Tuesday, Nov. 14.

He said structural improvements are underway at the Batasang Pambansa to improve the employees' working conditions. These include the construction of a permanent secretariat building and an Institute for Legislation and Legislative Governance, as well as a permanent warehouse for the storage of House resources.