Shake-up continues: Defensor, Villafuerte lose more House leadership slots
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor and Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte lost further leadership roles in the House of Representatives—this time, they were stripped of their vice chairmanship posts in various committees.
Defensor and Villafuerte were replaced as vice chairpersons of several committees in the lower chamber just before the close of Monday’s House session, the first assembly since the month-long holiday break. Both congressmen are close allies of Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, the former Speaker.
The following lawmakers replaced Defensor:
- Rep. Dahlia Loyola as vice chairperson of the House committee on health
- Rep. Carl Nicolas Cari as vice chairperson of the House committee on public information
- Rep. Arnie Fuentebella as vice chairperson of the House committee on dangerous drugs
- Rep. Jake Vincent Villa as vice chairperson of the House committee on good government and public accountability
- Rep. Ian Paul Dy as vice chairperson of the House special committee on strategic intelligence
Meanwhile, Villafuerte was replaced by Fuentebella as the vice chairperson of the House committee on public accounts.
To recall, Defensor was earlier stripped of his chairmanship of the House committee on public accounts. Villafuerte was also previously removed as a deputy speaker.
Several other Cayetano allies lost various leadership posts after he was ousted as Speaker and replaced by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Following his removal from the leadership posts, Villafuerte said Monday night they “welcome” the “continued purge of the allies” of Cayetano “because we are more inspired and motivated to point out their flaws.”
“Their vindictiveness only proves the Velasco camp’s obsessiveness with playing politics. Why continue purging strong allies of this administration and push for Cha-cha (charter change) where they can focus on the vaccination program and rebuilding the economy,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
Villafuerte further said that since Velasco took the speakership position, the lower chamber has become a “trapo central” instead of the House of the People.
“They can strip us from our position, reduce the budgets in our districts withhold the bonuses and salaries of my employees but one thing for sure is that we will not be intimidated by their continued harassment and we will continue to highlight that under Velasco, Congress has become the house of politics and a ‘trapo central’ rather than the House of the People,” he added.
Cayetano and six of his closest allies have since formed their own bloc ‘BTS sa Kongreso’. They, however, insisted that the new coalition is not after the lower chamber’s leadership.
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