SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco yesterday said he will keep Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as his House Majority Leader.
This developed as Velasco disclosed his plan to review the performance of committee chairmen during the congressional break to see if they needbe to replaced.
“I still kept the promise with Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to stay as the Majority Leader,” Velasco told ANC’s Headstart, referring to the 15/21 term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte between former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Velasco where Romualdez would serve as House Majority Leader for a full three-year term.
“Naipakita naman po natin na pati ‘yung Majority Leader ko po—ang Majority Leader ay kasama rin po ‘yan sa term-sharing— siya pa rin ang Majority Leader natin, si Majority Leader Martin Romualdez,” Velasco said in his separate interview over GMA News’ Unang Balita.
Reliable sources bared that Romualdez was very instrumental in consolidating the 283 members of the new supermajority under Velasco following a leadership change.
“But during the recess, I will evaluate actually some of the posts and some committees and see whether they are still performing or they should be changed. But, there are actually some posts that really need changes mainly because most of the posts require the trust and confidence of the Speaker,” Velasco said.
“I haven’t really removed a lot of people. I still have to evaluate each and every member’s post and their performance. I’m not attacking anyone,” Velasco said.
Speaking in ANC’s “Matters of Fact,” Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts and a staunch ally of Cayetano, said he is prepared for whatever decision is made by Velasco whom he believes should be given a free hand in choosing the people who will head the House chairmanships.
“The Speaker will of course choose among his supporters kung sino ang gusto niyang mapunta dito sa mga komite,” Defensor said. “Okay naman sa akin. Whatever will be the decision.”
MAYOR SARA DUTERTE’S ENDORSEMENT
Velasco credited the endorsement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for his speakership victory.
“I believe Mayor Sara really has a lot of influence not only in Congress but in a lot of areas also. With her party Hugpong ng Pagbabago joining or endorsing my speakership, definitely I believe it was a tipping point,” Velasco said during ANC’s Headstart interview.
20 BILLION INSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
The small committee of the House of Representatives on the national budget met yesterday and introduced P20-billion institutional amendments, including P5.5 billion for coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) vaccine under the Department of Health (DoH).
The small committee also agreed to provide the following institutional amendments: Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), P4 billion; Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), P1 billion; DOH, P10.5 that will be allocated to Health Facility Enhancement Program with P2 billion, P3 billion to Mental Health and P5.5 billion to COVID-19 vaccine; Department of Labor and Employment’s (DoLE) Tupad, P4 billion; Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) Assistance to Families Affected by the Pandemic, P2 billion; Department of Education’s (DepEd) Support to Teachers on Connectivity, P1.7 billion; Department of Interior and Local Government-Philippine National Police’s (DILG-PNP) Mobile Vehicle for Quick Response, P2 billion; and Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Procurement of Aircraft (C-130), P2 billion.