Martin Romualdez

New opposition? Romualdez wants to hear Sara declare it herself

Kaycee Valmonte

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New opposition? Romualdez wants to hear Sara declare it herself

Vice Presidential candidate Sara Duterte-Carpio lead the UniTeam miting de avance in Paranaque City on May 7, 2022.

It was former presidential spokesman Harry Roque who declares vice president Sara Duterte as the new face of the opposition after she resigned

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Martin Romualdez said he respected the decision of Vice President Sara Duterte to step down from her Cabinet post, however, he had yet to recognize assertions that she was the new face of the opposition.

New opposition? Romualdez wants to hear Sara declare it herself

It was Harry Roque – an ally of the Duterte clan and a spokesman during the administration of ex-president Rodrigo Duterte – who said the vice president could be the new leader of the opposition after her resignation was made public on June 19.

“I guess that’s Mr. Harry Roque’s statement but I guess we just have to hear it from the VP if and when the time comes for her to make… statements on policies of the national government,” Romualdez told reporters on Monday, June 24, at the sidelines of a press conference.

Romualdez said he respected her decision to resign as secretary of education.

They last saw each other during the budget hearings last year – when Duterte’s request for P650-million confidential funds made headlines.

“We miss the closer interactions that we had during the campaign,” said Romualdez, who led the Uniteam’s trail in the 2022 national elections. Romualdez and Duterte were then both members of political party Lakas-CMD, where Romualdez sits as its president and Duterte is chairperson. (READ: Goodbye, Uniteam: VP Sara Duterte resigns from the Marcos Cabinet)

The two hit a rough patch in the lead up to the vice president’s resignation.

Apart from her offices getting turned down for its spy fund requests, Duterte’s political allies were demoted from their senior roles at the House of Representatives late last year.

Duterte immediately resigned from Lakas-CMD duties after Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo – known to the public to be her family’s long-time ally, her own mentor, and the political party’s president emeritus – was demoted to deputy speaker in May 2023 after previously having the title of senior deputy speaker.

Duterte in January also claimed she has been on the receiving end of “despicable treatment from some sectors within the circle of the President,” without getting into the specifics.

On Monday, Romualdez said he still wished the vice president well.

“We only wish the vice president nothing but the best and we wish her always the best of luck in all endeavors and in her service to the Filipino people,” Romualdez said. –

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Kaycee Valmonte

Kaycee Valmonte is a multimedia reporter who covers politics in the House of Representatives and public health.