A House leader defended the decision of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to appoint more Deputy Speakers and reshuffle chairmanships.
According to Deputy Speaker and Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, the appointment of additional Deputy Speakers is a “good move in right direction.”
The additional nine Deputy Speakers raised the total number to 29, surpassing the 22 complement during the time of former Speaker and Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
But Rodriguez asserted that this should not be criticized because the new leadership only wanted to ensure that other regions, particularly Mindanao, will be given the same priority.
Rodriguez said it will ensure equal representation of all regions and political parties in the country.
“We have imperial Manila always, and so therefore Speaker Lord Allan Velasco deems it necessary to make sure that there is representation from the 16 regions,” Rodriguez said.
Speaker Velasco has expressed his commitment to ensure that the House under his leadership will be inclusive and united, making the lower chamber truly the House representing the people.
Rodriguez, being a Mindanaoan and founder of Abante Mindanao Party-list, said he is tasked to address the concerns of the region.
He also handles legal and constitutional issues that at times surface when bills are filed in the House.
The nine allies of Speaker Velasco named as new Deputy Speakers are Negros Oriental Rep. Arnulfo Teves; Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc
Valenzuela Reps. Eric Martinez and Wes Gatchalian; Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan; Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera; Zamboanga del Sur Rep. Divina Grace Yu; Saranggani Rep. Rogelio Pacquiao and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante.
Despite being high-ranking officials of the PDP-Laban, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel were removed as Deputy Speakers.
But they were installed as chairpersons of the committees on bases conversion and strategic intelligence respectively.
Other allies of Velasco who were given juicy positions are Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison as House contingent to the Commission on Appointment replacing Laguna Rep. Benjamin Agarao Jr.; Navotas Rep. John Reynald Tiangco as chairman of of the committee on trade and industry; Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas as chairman of the committee on social services and La Union Rep. Sandra Eriguel as chairperson of committee on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and diplomacy.