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Surigao Norte lawmakers to back Arroyo as House Speaker

Two Surigao del Norte congressmen-elect have vowed to support any move to elect outgoing President and incoming Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as House Speaker in the 15th Congress.

In separate media briefings after they were proclaimed winners in the recently concluded elections, Rep. Guillermo Romarate Jr. (second district) and Rep. Francisco Matugas (first district) expressed all-out support for Mrs. Arroyo should she decide to gun for the House's top post.

In an interview with reporters at his residence in Tubod town in Surigao del Norte, Romarate said he will fully support an Arroyo bid for the top post in the House. Romarate claimed Mrs. Arroyo can easily get support from all seven elected lawmakers in the Caraga Region, saying all newly elected House representatives in the region are from the ruling party Lakas-Kampi.

"All I know 86 newly elected congressmen come from Lakas-Kampi and the number is increasing. With this trend, our party Lakas is expected to dominate once again the lower house and of course expected to support congresswoman-elect Arroyo to be House Speaker in the 15th Congress," Romarate said.

In separate interview at his residence, Matugas also declared all-out support for Mrs. Arroyo should she decide to seek the House speakership. "She is most qualified, as of now I think her priority is to solidify further our party Lakas-Kampi as she already assumed the Lakas party leadership recently. Then after this solidification process, we will discuss our support for her," Matugas said. For the first time in Surigao del Norte’s political history, a single political party dominated all top elective posts — that is from district representatives, governors, vice governors, all municipal mayors and vice mayors, including the Surigao City mayor and vice mayor. They all come from Partido Padajon Surigao-Lakas-Kampi. On the other hand, Mrs. Arroyo won a landslide victory (169,109 votes), or about 84.23 vote percentage in the final official Commission on Elections (Comelec) count, while rival Liberal Party bet Adonis Simpao only got 20,922 votes or about 10.42 vote percentage in Pampanga's second congressional district. — Ben Serrano/LBG/RSJ, GMANews.TV

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