SPEAKER Lord Allan Velasco on Monday 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 and see if there is a need to replace them during the congressional break.
“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 it was also agreed Romualdez will 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 a separate interview over GMA News’ Unang Balita.
Reliable sources bared that Romualdez was 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 at 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 will be Velasco’s decision, adding that he believes the Speaker should be given a free hand to choose.
“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’S ENDORSEMENT
Velasco credited the endorsement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio behind 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.
NO PORK IN THE NAT’L BUDGET
Velasco assured that there is no pork barrel in the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget, making it legal and constitutional.
“Let me assure you that there is no pork in the budget,” Velasco said.
P20B INSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
The small committee also agreed to provide the following institutional amendments: Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), P400 million; Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), P100 million; DoH, P10.5 that will be allocated to Health Facility Enhancement Program with P2 billion, P300 million 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.