1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero. (File photo)
MANILA – The House of Representatives on Friday elected Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro as deputy speaker, replacing 1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero, a known ally of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Castro, on the other hand, is a supporter of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Deputy Majority Leader Xavier Jesus Romualdo moved for the revamp in the House leadership during the plenary deliberations on the proposed PHP4.5-trillion national budget for 2021.
“Mr. Speaker, I move that we elect Representative Fredenil H. Castro vice Rep. Michael L. Romero,” Romualdo said.
No lawmaker objected, and the motion was approved.
“Representative Fred Castro is hereby designated as one of the deputy speaker(s),” Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu said.
Castro, earlier in the day, challenged Velasco and his supporters to resign from their leadership posts if they are not willing to cooperate with the incumbent House Speaker.
“Resign your leadership positions and let those who are willing to help take over,” Castro said in a privilege speech. “There is no shame in admitting defeat at the hands of a better foe, but it is not fitting to pretend to be part of the team, while betraying your colleagues and undermining the efforts of Congress.”
Cayetano offered to step down in a speech before fellow lawmakers on Wednesday amid the speakership row stemming from a 15-21 term-sharing deal with Velasco.
The House plenary rejected Cayetano’s offer of resignation with a 184-1-9 vote.
Velasco, however, reminded Cayetano that the turnover date of the speakership is on Oct. 14, as agreed upon during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday.
“To Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, it was only last night when you promised to resign on Oct. 14 when the President ordered you to honor the term-sharing agreement. Ito ay usapang lalaki (It was a gentlemen’s agreement),” Velasco said.
PBA party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said the removal of Romero as deputy speaker is an “affront” against the party-list coalition.
The recent leadership revamp came despite the agreement between Cayetano and Velasco that there will be no changes in committee chairmanships as well as other leadership posts in the chamber. (PNA)