Party-list lawmakers question change of deputy speaker amid House speakership row
Marje Pelayo • October 5, 2020 • 348
MANILA, Philippines — Some 54 congressmen in the House of Representatives expressed dismay over the recent ouster of 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero as deputy speaker last Friday (October 2).
The partylist lawmakers questioned the removal of Romero sans proper voting and without their presence.
“Paano siya napatalsik gayong wala namang botohang naganap? Anong klaseng procedure yun (How was he ousted when there wasn’t any voting that happened? What kind of procedure is that)?” the Party-list Coalition said in a statement.
Romero is a known ally of Marinduque Rep. Allan Jay Velasco.
He was replaced by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro who is a known ally of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Party-list congressmen are representatives of various sectors in the country with groups comprising millions of members.
The coalition stressed the importance of a deputy speaker position that is occupied by their sector as it reflects balance in power and for their voices to be heard.
A deputy speaker is supposed to help the speaker of the House manage issues concerning the Lower House.
He may also preside during sessions in the absence of the speaker.
Meanwhile, Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. argued that the lawmakers’ move to reject the offer of Speaker Cayetano to resign last week was invalid.
“In parliamentary procedure, when you raise a point of order you should be recognized. Bakit hindi nila ako nirecgonize (Why didn’t they recognize me)? So it means [the proceedings was] null and void,” Teves said.
He showed a video of him about to make a motion during Tuesday’s voting but he was not recognized and was muted instead.
He also questioned the accuracy of the votes which resulted in 184 voting to reject Cayetano’s resignation, one accepting the offer, and nine abstaining from voting.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi kapanipaniwala ang 184 to 1. Sana kung nag-doktor sila ng numero inayos naman sana nila. So ibig sabihin si Cong (Velasco) lang bumoto sa sarili niya? si (Rep.) Leachon, hindi?” Teves argued.
( Translation: To be honest, the 184 to 1 result is implausible. If they were going to rig the numbers, they should’ve done it properly. So, does that mean only Cong. Velasco voted for himself? And Rep. Leachon did not?)
Meanwhile, Velasco is hoping Cayetano will vacate the speakership position on October 14 to honor their agreement. It is also the date when the national budget is expected to pass.
But according to Anakalusugan Partylist Rep, Mike Defensor, Cayetano will not resign and it is up to the camp of Velasco to make a motion to vacate the speakership position so that the lawmakers can vote between Velasco and Cayetano. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines — Seven lawmakers who previously held key positions in the House of Representatives (HOR) coined the slogans “Back to Service” and “Bayanihan, Tapang at Serbisyo” as their newest advocacy — these also coincidentally form the acronym “BTS”.
BTS is more popularly known as the acronym for Bangtan Boys, a South Korean pop group that is considered the biggest boy band in the world right now.
Meanwhile, the newly formed BTS political bloc in Congress — spearheaded by former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano — claims that the Lower House is not in its proper order of business nowadays.
The group wants to bring focus on more pressing issues such as economic recovery, COVID-19 response and prompt delivery of government services.
“Kung inuna niya ang hearing sa vaccination at sa PhilHealth, wala tayong problema. Inuna ang Cha-Cha,” Cayetano said of his successor House Speaker Allan Velasco.
Laguna Representative Dan Fernandez echoed the same sentiments.
“Kasi very important yung problema ng pandemic and that’s the reason why wala kaming sinasayang na oras. Pero ngayon isang buwan kaming bakasyon at magsisimula ang Kongreso sa Lunes wala kang narinig na hearing,” he said.
All seven of them said they are part of a much larger group of colleagues in Congress who support their initiative.
“We are a bigger group. We have many sympathisers, supporters that are currently part of the leadership of the House. Marami kaming kasama na committee chairmen,” said Anak Kalusugan Partylist Mike Defensor.
They believe the HOR has lost its glory and they want to reinstate it through this advocacy.
“We want to bring back the House of Representative being the house of the people rather than the house of politics,” noted Camarines Sur Representative L-Ray Villafuerte.
“Pinatibay namin iyong grupo namin dahil iisa ang nararamdaman namin. Kailangang maramdaman ng mga tao na ang House of Representatives ay kasama nila sa anumang nararamdaman nila,” added Batangas Representative Raneo Abu.
On the other hand, Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon defended Velasco’s push for charter change as he believes it can solve and improve the current state of the country’s economy.
“Cha-Cha is sincere to deal only with economic provisions and supported by party leaders because this is the most opportune and right time to address the high unemployment rate and closure of business as the constitutional amendments seek to address infusion of massive investment opportunities,” he said.
Leachon in a statement called Cayetano’s group “ungrateful” and “selfish”.
He said Cayetano should have been thankful that Velasco did not touch the “bloated budget” that the former inserted and crafted into the 2021 national budget.
“Moreover, Speaker Velasco, despite their demeaning personality attacks on him, didn’t even raise a finger for 15 months and just waited for the right time to assume as the head of Congress based on the term-sharing agreement. Yun ang tularan nila- maginoo,” Leachon said.
“Their BTS launch is insignificant as to derail the Velasco’s legislative agenda because the current leadership under Speaker Velasco has earned the respect of the members of the supermajority because they lucidly see a decent man, not vindictive, working leader who has also a gentle heart to feel the needs of the House members. Hindi barkadahan lang,” he added.
Leachon advised the group not to ride on the popularity of the K-pop group BTS because their acronym might end up standing for: ‘Bitter Talaga Sila.’ MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
MANILA, Philippines – Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano reminded Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to honor his word to retain leadership positions in the House of Representatives after the transition of powers.
In a Facebook live on Wednesday afternoon, Cayetano called on Velasco to fulfill his “word of honor” of not implementing any changes in committee chairmanships and leadership positions in the lower chamber.
“Sabi mo sa akin Palabra de Honor, de Palabra de Honor din sa side niyo dahil malinaw na malinaw na sinabi ng ating Pangulo that he doesn’t want disruptions so walang palitan ng kahit sinong chairmanship at leadership sa Kongreso,” he said.
Cayetano made the remark after Velasco replaced the chairpersons of two House committees, which he said should not be the case under their term-sharing deal.
Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Salvador Leachon was elected as Senior Deputy Speaker, replacing Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte who was named chairman of the accounts committee.
The accounts committee was previously held by Cavite 8th District Representative Abraham Tolentino.
1-Pacman Party-list Representative Michael Romero was elected Deputy Speaker, replacing Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Raymund Villafuerte, who is a close ally of Cayetano.
Quezon Representative Angelina Tan was also named chairman of committee on health, replacing Guimaras Representative Lucille Nava.
Cayetano also claimed that some allies of Velasco are talking congressmen out of their positions, and are even taking their offices.
“There are now some of your people na gustong mang bengga talking to some of our people na magpalit na lang, umalis na lang. Pati Kwarto kinukuha,” he said.
“Let’s not do that, let’s all focus sa budget and as I promised you, kahit tingnan ninyo ‘yung text ko sa ating mga taga-suporta, ‘Please support the new leadership, please get the budget passed,’” he added.
Velasco has yet to comment on Cayetano’s statement.
The term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte himself in 2019. The deal appeared to have been fulfilled when Velasco was elected as speaker in a remote session on Monday.
His election was ratified at the Batasang Pambansa Complex on Tuesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
MANILA, Philippines – Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano has tendered his irrevocable resignation as speaker of the House of Representatives following the election of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.
As House lawmakers ratified Velasco’s election to the top post, Cayetano said he is stepping down from the post to avoid any more division and squabble among legislators.
“Verbally, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation as the speaker of the House of the Republic of the Philippines,” Cayetano said on Facebook live.
“At 3 p.m., elect your new speaker and pass the budget… Walang maneuvers at political tactics na mangyayari diyan,” he added.
Cayetano’s move follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s reminder to lawmakers to resolve the speakership issue, and to pass the 2021 national budget on time.
Velasco’s assumption of the chamber’s top post ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war with Cayetano, and enforced the term-sharing agreement between the two rivals that was brokered by the president in 2019.
Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for the first 15 months or until October 2020 while Velasco will take over the position for the remaining 21 months of the term.
Cayetano claimed he decided to give way to Velasco to ensure the passage of the P4.5-trillion General Appropriations Bill.
He said that based on his meetings with Duterte, he understood that he was going to turn over the top post once the budget bill has been approved.
“So Mr. President if I made a mistake, mali ang reading ko, misunderstood ko na gusto mong ituloy at tapusin ko ang budget, ako’y humihingi ng paumanhin. Hindi ko intensyon, never na hindi ka sundin,” he said.
Cayetano also urged Velasco to keep his word to retain the appointed House deputy speakers and committee chairpersons. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)
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