Yap: Not expecting House appropriations panel chair appointment
MANILA, Philippines — The newly-installed chairperson of the House of Representatives’ committee on appropriations said Monday that he never expected to be appointed as head of a powerful panel.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap said in an interview that he was not aware of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s plans to designate him as replacement of former committee chair Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.
“Wala akong idea no’ng nangyari hindi kasi ako active sa news kasi nasa Benguet ako no’ng last week. So, hindi ako medyo naka-ano sa news kasi mahina signal do’n sa tinitirahan ko sa Benguet,” Yap told reporters.
(I have no idea what happened because I was not active on the news because I was in Benguet last week. So, I was not updated on the news because the signal’s weak from where I live in Benguet.)
“And then kanina ‘pag punta ko, kinausap po ako ni Speaker tungkol sa trabaho, sa responsibility. Sa akin kasi, ako’y nagtatrabaho lang dito. Kung ano ang i-utos sa akin ay gagawin ko po,” he added.
(And then when I got here, the Speaker talked to me about the job, about the responsibility. For me, I’m just working here. Whatever job will be asked of me I will do it.)
During Monday’s plenary session, the majority moved to remove Ungab from the appropriations committee and designate Yap to the post. Abra Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos, was appointed as chair of the committee on games and amusements as Yap vacates his former post.
Yap, however, was also delegated vice-chair of the House games and amusements committee.
When asked whether he has already talked to Ungab – who coincidentally was seated near him in the plenary – he said no, as Ungab was not in the plenary hall earlier.
“Wala eh, wala siya kanina. Actually, seatmate kami nasa likod ko pala siya. Wala siya kanina eh, hindi siya pumunta doon,” Yap said.
(No, he was not there. Actually, we’re seatmates since he sits behind me. He was not there earlier, he did not attend.)
Yap then tried to douse speculations about his relationbship with presidential son and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte. He said he does not believe that his closeness with the younger Duterte played a role in his appointment to chair the appropriations panel.
“Nagulat din siya (Duterte), nagulat siya kanina. Hindi kami nakapag-usap no’ng weekend kasi mahina nga internet ko,” Yap said. “Normal sa tao maiisip nila ‘yon pero ang akin siguro, mapapatunayan ko ito sa aking trabaho.”
(He was also surprised. We were not able to talk the past weekend because I have weak internet. It’s normal for people to think that way but for me, I can prove this through my work.)
“Siguro may experience naman ako part din ako ng Bicam so kasama rin akong naghimay no’ng mga budget no’ng 2020,” he added.
(Maybe I also have experience since I’m also part of the Bicam so I’m also among those who dissected the 2020 national budget.)
In a statement, Ungab said he has served the country well during his stint as chairman of the House committee on appropriations, which has been considered a “powerful” panel since it tackles the annual government budget.
“I believe that the only guide to a man is his conscience, and the truth will always prevail no matter what. I have served my country and people well to the utmost of my ability. I accept my fate and so be it,” Ungab said.
Earlier, there were reports that a major revamp would take place in the House leadership, as Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza claimed that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was eager to declare all House positions as vacant and then call for an election.
Cayetano has previously claimed that Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is part of purported plans to oust him as top leader of the House of Representatives. But Velasco denied it, saying he and PDP-Laban have no plans to circumvent the “gentleman’s agreement” brokered by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte on a term-sharing of the speakership with Cayetano.
Under the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano would serve as Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or supposedly from July 2019 up to October 2020 while Velasco would serve as Speaker for the remaining 21 months.
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