House removes Velasco ally from Deputy Speaker post

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The House of Representatives on Friday replaced 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero, an ally of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco with Cayetano-backed Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro as deputy speaker.

It was Deputy Majority Leader Xavier Jesus Romualdo who moved for the revamp in the House leadership during the plenary deliberations on the proposed PHP4.5-trillion national budget for 2021. No lawmaker objected, and the motion was approved.

Castro in his privilege speech, challenged Velasco and his supporters to resign from their leadership posts if they are not willing to cooperate with the incumbent House Speaker.

“Resign your leadership positions and let those who are willing to help take over,” Castro said.

“There is no shame in admitting defeat at the hands of a better foe, but it is not fitting to pretend to be part of the team, while betraying your colleagues and undermining the efforts of Congress.”

Cayetano offered to step down in a speech before fellow lawmakers on Wednesday amid the speakership row with Rep. Velasco. Lawmakers rejected Cayetano’s offer of resignation with a 184-1-9 vote.

Velasco, however, reminded Cayetano that the turnover date of the speakership is on Oct. 14, as agreed upon during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday.

“To Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, it was only last night when you promised to resign on Oct. 14 when the President ordered you to honor the term-sharing agreement. Ito ay usapang lalaki (It was a gentlemen’s agreement),” Velasco said.

PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said the removal of Romero as deputy speaker is an “affront” against the party-list coalition.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.