eLegis Olongapo City Philippines Sangunian

13 February 2006

House posts shuffled

5 leaders ousted in major revamp

By Maricel V. Cruz, Manila Times Reporter

FIVE proadministration lawmakers will lose their key positions in the House of Representatives as the majority begins to crack the whip on “errant” members.

A source confirmed to The Manila Times that the House deputy speaker for Luzon, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino of Tarlac, Reps. Nereus Acosta of Bukidnon, Clavel Martinez of Cebu, Rodolfo Bacani of Manila and Arnulfo Fuentebella of Camariñes Sur will be stripped of their chairmanships and vice-chairmanships.

Rep. Eric Singson of Ilocos Sur will replace Aquino. Acosta, who heads the Committees on Ecology and Foreign Affairs and is vice-chairman for human rights, will be replaced by Rep. Miles Roces of Manila.

Martinez, vice-chairman of the Committee on Constitutional Amendments, will be replaced by Rep. Victor Sumu­long of Antipolo City. Bacani, vice-chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Housing and Urban Development and Trade and Industry, will step aside for Rep. Harlin Abayon of Northern Samar.

The five congressmen earned the wrath of the majority after they supported the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo last September.

Speaker Jose de Venecia has said it has had to contend with the major issue of adjusting chairmanships and memberships in certain committees after the defeat of the impeachment complaint.

The majority leader, Rep. Prospero Nograles of Davao City, chairman of the Committee on Rules, said the revamp was not meant to sanction members who went against the majority, but is part of the “cleansing process” to ensure immediate approval of several priority administration measures.

Nograles said the replacements were recommended by their partymates after a series of consultations with their political parties that make up the majority coalition.

It will be the second time the House has reorganized the committees. Last November several heads of committees such as the public information and defense were also replaced.

“The majority post, Committees on Ways and Means and on Accounts, won’t be revamped as Speaker Jose de Venecia was able to thresh out the matter among the persons involved,” Nograles said.

He added that Lakas-Christian-Muslim Democrats Rep. Joey Salceda of Albay will replace Andaya for chairmanship of the appropriations committee, after Andaya’s appointment as secretary of budget and management.

Rep. Herminio Teves of Negros Oriental may head the Committee on Economic Affairs