Salceda says leadership changes don’t affect House performance
MANILA, Philippines — Work at the House of Representatives remains unaffected by the recent reshuffling in leadership positions, Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda said on Wednesday.
Salceda said the recent changes — notably the removal of Pampanga 2nd District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab from their deputy speaker posts – had no impact on legislative performance.
“Clearly, recent events have not affected the pace of our legislative performance. At the end of the day, the Committee is a policy office – and a very hardworking one, at that. We follow the direction of the President and the House leadership over policy questions,” he said.
“Political matters are properly the concern of the House leadership and the party leaders of the Supermajority Coalition. Committee Chairs like me are tasked with policy. Trabahante lang po kami (We are just workers here), and in the job that needs to be done, I follow, abide by, and fully support the strong leadership of Speaker Romualdez — who has delivered on PBBM’s (President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) agenda with flying colors,” he added.
In an ambush interview with reporters, Salceda said he knows both Romualdez and Arroyo — and surmises that both would instead be focused on the work required from Congress.
“Kilala ko po ang dalawang ‘yon, at hindi ‘yon makakasagabal sa kanilang contribution sa House, sa trabaho ng House. Having been a former chief-of-staff of President Gloria, having worked with her in so many other issues, I’m sure na she’s also laser-focused on very significant legislative initiatives in the House,” Salceda said.
(I know those two, and these changes would not interfere with their contribution to the House, to the work being done by the House.)
“I don’t think, katulad ng dati, hindi na-istorbo yung kaniyang trabaho dito. Sa tingin ko ngayon hindi rin siya madi-distorbo,” he added.
(I don’t think — just like before — this will disturb their work here. I think they would not be disturbed.)
Arroyo and Ungab were removed from their deputy speaker roles during Tuesday’s session after a motion from Deputy Majority Leader and Cagayan 1st District Rep. Ramon Nolasco Jr. was approved.
Nolasco moved to elect Isabela 1st District Rep. Antonio Albano instead of Arroyo and Lanao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong to replace Ungab.
In a separate statement after the leadership shakeup, Majority Leader and Zamboanga City 2nd District Rep. Manuel Jose Dalipe said that the decision came after both Arroyo and Ungab failed to sign a critical House resolution.
Dalipe did not mention what specific resolution he was referring to, but the House on Monday adopted HR No. 1414, which sought to uphold the dignity and integrity of the legislative chamber.
This was after former president Rodrigo Duterte launched tirades against the House, calling it the ‘most rotten government organization’ after the body decided to strip the Office of the Vice President (OVP) and the Department of Education (DepEd) of its confidential fund (CF) requests for 2024.
OVP and DepEd are both headed by Duterte’s daughter, Vice President Sara Duterte.
But Arroyo, in a statement earlier, maintained that the reason she was not able to sign the resolution seeking to uphold the House’s integrity and dignity is because she was out of the country.
The former president also noted that she does not see anything new in the resolution, adding that she has always supported Romualdez — a party-mate at Lakas-CMD.
Both Ungab and Arroyo have been known as key allies of the Dutertes: Vice President Duterte in the past has heaped praises on Arroyo, whom she considers a mentor, while Ungab was one of the lawmakers who defended OVP when its CF allocation for 2022 was being scrutinized.