Andaya dropping majority leadership, taking powerful committee
MANILA, Philippines — House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. will yield his position to Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro during Monday afternoon’s plenary session.
Castro confirmed this to INQUIRER.net, adding that the Camarines Sur congressman would be the chair of the powerful House appropriations committee.
“Yes… Cong. Andaya will slide to being Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation,” Castro said.
The lawmaker from Capiz said Malacañang, as well as the latter’s probe into the alleged budget anomalies under Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno’s watch had nothing to do with the change in leadership.
“The probe has absolutely nothing to do with my assumption as Majority Leader. There was prior understanding,” Castro added. “Malacañang has absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Asked how they arrived at this agreement, Castro answered, “Honor system between two gentlemen.” He also said the set-up was “agreed (upon) long before.”
Castro was among the choices for the majority leader post when Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office in July 2018 but he “gave way to Andaya” whom he described as a “close friend.”
The appropriations panel’s current acting chair is Senior Vice Chairman Maria Carmen Zamora from the 1st District of Compostela Valley.
Castro is president of the National Unity Party, one of the political parties in the House with around 48 members.
The House rules panel will resume its inquiry into the budget anomalies also this day, at 11:30 a.m.
For the third time, the committee has invited Diokno to appear as a resource person despite declining earlier.
INQUIRER.net reached out Andaya for comment but he has yet to respond as of posting time.
In a previous statement amid a rumored ouster plot against him, Andaya said he was willing to be relieved as Majority Leader.
“To me this post is forced labor. Gusto ko na nga ma-relieve ng duties as Majority Leader noon pa (Even before, I already wanted to be relieved of my duties as Majority Leader),” the lawmaker who is running for governor in the May elections said.
“I will be the first to vote that I be relieved as Majority Leader… This job has tied me down in Manila when I should be focusing (on) Camarines Sur,” he added. /cbb, je
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