House shake-up bares cracks in ruling alliance – Castro

House shake-up bares cracks in ruling alliance – Castro

/ 05:46 AM November 09, 2023

House shake-up bares cracks in ruling alliance – Castro

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While an ally of Speaker Martin Romualdez believed that the status quo was still “solid, robust and vigorous,” a lawmaker belonging to the Makabayan bloc said the removal of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as House deputy speakers only highlighted the growing cracks in the alliance of President Marcos and Vice President Sara Duterte.

“We’ve been seeing these cracks even before when the Vice President quit the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats,” House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro said, referring to Romualdez’s ruling party.


In an interview with reporters on Wednesday, Castro said these cracks will likely worsen as the Vice President and Romualdez make known their “interest for a higher position,” referring to the 2028 presidential elections, and their differing positions on issues such as the much-criticized confidential funds.


House ways and means panel chair Rep. Joey Salceda, who served as Arroyo’s chief of staff when she was president, said the revamp won’t dent the legislative performance of Congress or Arroyo herself.

“Recent events have not affected the pace of our legislative performance … Having been a former chief of staff of the former president, having worked with her on so many other issues, I am sure she’s also laser-focused on very significant legislative initiatives. I don’t think this will disturb her from her work,” Salceda said.

He added: “The status quo is solid, robust and vigorous with respect to doing our jobs… Essentially, I think what happened is an act of leadership.”

Salceda stressed that “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. We are just doing our jobs and in the job that needs to be done, I follow, abide by and fully support the strong leadership of the House Speaker who has delivered on the President’s agenda with flying colors,” he said.


Removal from posts

The legislators made the remarks after Arroyo and Ungab were removed as House deputy speakers in the House’s plenary session on Tuesday night.

They were replaced by Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano and Lanao del Sur Rep. Yasser Balindong, respectively.

In separate statements, Arroyo and Ungab maintained that they would still support Mr. Marcos despite their removal from their posts.

Arroyo and Ungab, both allies of former President Rodrigo Duterte who criticized the House as “the most rotten institution,” said they accepted their fate to be stripped of the powerful post.

Arroyo doused intrigues by stressing that she has always supported Romualdez as her protégé and Mr. Marcos’ “preferred man” in the House.

In a statement on Wednesday, Arroyo said she was unable to sign House Resolution No. 1414 that expressed support for Romualdez because she was abroad when it was circulated among the legislators.

“In any case, that resolution does not contain anything for me, because I have always supported his leadership as House Speaker,” Arroyo said.

She remarked that “there is always intrigue in politics, often petty,” alluding to previous rumors that cost her the coveted post of House senior deputy speaker last May.

“If some intriguers were able to convince the House Speaker of the falsehood that I do not support his leadership in the House, then there is nothing I can do,” Arroyo said.

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She stressed that “even as an ordinary congressman,” she will remain true to her word to President Marcos that she will “continue to support his preferred man for House Speaker.”

She reiterated that she has vowed to support Romualdez from the time that she learned that Mr. Marcos preferred him for the post and that she advised the President of this in writing.

TAGS: France Castro, House shakeup

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