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Focus on Philippines challenges, not next elections – Speaker

MANILA, Philippines — For Speaker Martin Romualdez, there are other challenges facing the country that need to be prioritized – and certainly not the next elections still five years away.

In a statement, Romualdez said the country is currently dealing with significant economic, public health, and regional issues that demand immediate attention.

“Filipinos are faced with many problems that need immediate solutions. The elections are not the answer to hunger,” he said in Filipino.

Romualdez made the statement in reaction to the pronouncement of former President Rodrigo Duterte that the House leader was “posturing to be a candidate for president” in 2028.

“Ngayon akala niya ang kalaban niya si Inday (daughter and Vice President Sara Duterte), because si Inday ‘yong Vice President (Now he thinks his opponent is Inday, because Inday is the Vice President), naturally, she might want to go for the presidency,” Duterte said.

The elder Duterte also charged that Romualdez and his cousin, President Marcos, “want to consolidate” and that the Speaker took everything – even congressmen belonging to PDP-Laban, which the former president heads as its national chairman.

Romualdez and Duterte have been engaged in a word war since the House of Representatives’ removal of some P650 million in confidential funds from the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education, which is also headed by the former president’s daughter.

The speaker said he is “grateful for the former president’s engagement with the political discourse, and I understand the curiosity surrounding the 2028 elections.”

“As Speaker of the House of Representatives, my priority is to promote unity and collaboration across all political lines. This is a time to put aside rumors and speculations about future elections and concentrate on what we can achieve together for the betterment of our country and the welfare of the Filipino people,” he added.

With regards to his personal political aspirations, Romualdez maintained that he is “currently committed to my role as Speaker and serving the needs of our nation.”

He said his “focus is on the present responsibilities and not on future electoral possibilities.”