Lawmakers express support for Foreign Secretary Romulo

September 23, 2009 12:31 pm 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Sept. 23 — Several lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Wednesday expressed support to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo amid calls for him to resign from the Cabinet following a declaration that he is supporting the candidacy of Senator Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino III in his presidential bid in May 2010 elections.

Deputy Majority Leader and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo 'Sonny' Angara, in a text message, said he sees nothing wrong with Romulo's "gesture of support" for Aquino.

"I think he (Romulo) was just saying personal opinion. There is nothing wrong so long as he does not actively campaign for Senator Aquino since this would run counter to civil service laws and rules," he said.

For his part, Palawan Rep. Antonio Alvarez, spokesman of the ruling Lakas-Kampi-CMD (Christians, Muslims, Democrats), said that even members of the Cabinet have a right to choose whom to vote for.

He said he believed Romulo would not abuse his position to campaign for Aquino.

"Leave him alone. This guy has done a lot. I don't think he's going to campaign (for Aquino). That's his preference. A lot of Cabinet secretaries (also) have different preference. They just keep it to themselves," he added.

On the other hand, Speaker Prospero Nograles said that the DFA Secretary is "a very, very decent and upright man. He is dignified and with solid principles and track record."

On the issue whether Romulo should resign from Cabinet because of his statement of support to Aquino's candidacy, Nograles said that "if you look at it like a team, yes. Team players follow the game plan of the coach. If they don't, they are benched and won't play at all."

"Let us respect the man. Whatever it is he decides is fine with me. I truly respect him," the Speaker said.

Meanwhile, Quezon Rep. Lorenzo 'Erin' Tanada III, spokesman of the Liberal Party (LP), said the party is confident with the Noynoy-Mar tandem in the May 2010 elections "but not overconfident."

"We believe we have strong candidates that the people can trust. I don't think there is nothing wrong in preparing for a possible 12-year program if the Noynoy-Mar succeeds in governing the country well for the first six years," said Tanada in a text message.

Tanada also hinted that Senator Mar Roxas may run for president in the 2016 elections.

"If the people are happy with the Noynoy-Mar administration, then the people may elect Mar in 2016. So the criticisms from other parties are to be expected because we have a formidable team," he said.

Just the same, Tanada said the LP is not taking he candidates of the administration lightly "because the administration has the resources to back their candidates."

"We, on the other hand, have minimal resources but have the passion of volunteers throughout the country to carry our cause for genuine reform and change," he added. (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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