Palace: Duterte won’t interfere in House ‘intramurals’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere in the ongoing “intramurals” at the House of Representatives even as those involved in the row are his allies, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Speaker Cayetano last week claimed that Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s camp offered several lawmakers budget allocations and chairmanship positions so he could take over the lower chamber’s top post. In retaliation, Cayetano shuffled the powerful House Committee on Appropriations, and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribubal (HRET).
Duterte help brokered a term-sharing deal last year for Cayetano to serve as Speaker for 15 months, before Velasco takes over for 21 months.
Presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, however, rejected the deal and backed Velasco for Speaker in the run-up to the May 13 midterm elections.
The younger Duterte is also reportedly not happy with the removal of her friend, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, as head of the appropriations committee during the shake-up in the lower chamber on Monday.
Despite the supposed infighting among the president’s allies in the lower chamber, his spokesman Salvador Panelo said the squabble will not affect the administration’s legislative agenda.
“I don’t think it will affect the legislative agenda because all of them support the agenda of the President. Most of them, anyway,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.
He also claimed that there’s no “crack” in the President’s alliance in Congress.
“Even if they have intramurals there, if all of them are allies of the President, there’s no crack. There will be a crack if those fighting each other says they are not for the President,” Panelo said.
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