Thursday, October 15, 2020

House names 2 new deputy speakers

THE HOUSE of Representatives on Wednesday named two new deputy speakers following the election of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as Speaker.  

1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero, a known ally of Velasco, was reinstated as deputy speaker less than two weeks after he was removed from the post by then Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Romero replaced Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, a close Cayetano ally.

Meanwhile, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte’, whose slot as deputy speaker was given to another Velasco ally, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, was elected as the chairman of the House Committee on Cccounts on Tuesday.

Cayetano reminded Velasco that there should be no changes in leadership positions and committee chairmanships at the House of Representatives in line with their term-sharing agreement.

"I am just asking Cong. Velasco who will be our new Speaker na sabi mo sa akin palabra de honor, then palabra de honor din sa side niyo. Dahil malinaw na sinabi ng ating Pangulo na he doesn’t want disruption so walang palitan ng kahit sinong chairmanship at leadership sa Kongreso (you told me word of honor, then have word of honor also. Because our President (Rodrigo Duterte) clearly he doesn't want disruption, so no changes should be made in chairmanship and leadership),” Cayetano said in a Facebook live video.

Following his removal as deputy speaker, Villafuerte said he would still continue to support the legislative agenda of Duterte in whatever capacity he can.

Villafuerte, however, said it is up to the new House leadership to explain why “they are violating the commitments they have made” regarding the agreement that no changes in leadership and committee chairmanships in the lower chamber shall be made.

“The House needs to be united, and I am all for that. But it has to come from the top. Words need to be backed up by action. We cannot talk of palabra de honor only when it suits our personal ambitions--we must live it, breath[e] it, and embody it in all we do. That is what it takes to be the true Speaker,” he said. (By Filane Mikee Cervantes)