NEW MEMBERS. Lakas-CMD president and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez administers the oath of Caloocan Representative-elect Dean Asistio (right), Manila Representative-elect Irwin Tieng (2nd from right), Manila Representative-elect Ernesto "Ernix" Dionisio Jr. (center) and Quezon City Representative-elect Patrick Michael "PM" Vargas as new party members at Lakas-CMD Headquarters in Mandaluyong City on Thursday (June 9, 2022). The party has now 50 members at the House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy of Lakas-CMD)

MANILA – The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) party gained 23 more members at the House of Representatives with Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez poised to become the next Speaker for the incoming 19th Congress.

Romualdez, who is Lakas-CMD president, administered the oath to the new party members in Mandaluyong City on Thursday, bringing the party's strength in the lower chamber to 50.

“We are elated that our colleagues chose to be with us in Lakas-CMD. We look forward to having a fruitful engagement with them and sharing the values and advocacies we have followed and pursued as one of the biggest political parties in the country,” Romualdez said.

Romualdez said the party's growing numbers would strengthen support in the House for the legislative agenda of the incoming administration of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

The new Lakas-CMD allies are Quezon Rep. David Suarez, Quezon City Rep. Patrick Michael Vargas, Caloocan City Rep. Dean Asistio, Isabela Rep. Faustino Dy V, Biñan City Rep. Marlyn Alonte, Mandaue City Emmarie Ouano-Dizon, Davao Oriental Rep. Cheeno Almario, Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II, Sulu Rep. Samier Tan, Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, Maguindanao Rep. Dimple Mastura, and Southern Leyte Rep. Christopherson Yap.

Other new party members are Manila Reps. Irwin Tieng and Ernix Dionisio, Quirino Rep. Midy Cua, Cebu Rep. Edsel Galeos, Batangas Rep. Jinky Bitrics Luistro, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Arnan C. Panaligan, Zambales Rep. Doris Maniquiz, Isabela Reps. Joseph Tan and Faustino Michael Carlos Dy III, Cagayan Rep. Jojo Lara, and Sarangani Rep. Steve Solon.

Those who physically took their oath before Romualdez were Vargas, Dionisio, Tieng, Asistio, Tan, Inno Dy, Cua, Maniquiz, Yap, Romualdo, Almario, and Tan, while other lawmakers signed their oath of membership.

Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Wilter Palma II, Lakas-CMD’s deputy secretary general, said they expected members of the incoming House to gravitate toward their party since it was at the forefront of the campaign that led to the landslide victory of the UniTeam tandem of Marcos and his running mate Vice President-elect Sara Duterte.

Palma noted that the Marcos Jr. himself has acknowledged Lakas-CMD’s contribution to the success of the campaign in a thanksgiving dinner he hosted for his campaign staff and supporters last month.

The Lakas-CMD has officially endorsed Romualdez for the speakership of the next Congress.

The other political party-endorsers of Romualdez include PDP-Laban, National Unity Party (NUP), Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), Nacionalista Party (NP), Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), Party-List Coalition Foundation, Inc., other parties, the group of independents, and the group of neophyte or first-term lawmakers. (PNA)