By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Deputy Speaker Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. disclosed yesterday that aside from electing the new House majority floor leader today, chairmen of four or five key committees will be stripped of their posts and replaced by allies of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
He said four names are being considered to replace outgoing House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas.
However, he did not name names.
“Tingin ko mga apat yata ’yon na pagpipilian. Lahat naman po ng mga ’yan ay kapable po (I see maybe four in the selection. All of them are capable [of assuming the post]),” he said in a radio interview.
Reliable sources earlier said Andaya has the edge in succeeding Fariñas, being the personal choice of Speaker Arroyo.
“At kung sino ang mapipili, ’yon na ang ino-nominate pagdating sa Lunes (Whoever is chosen by the marjority will be the one nominated on Monday),” Andaya said.
He said four to five “major” committees will have new chairpersons.
“Siguro mga apat or lima na committees ang maaring mapalitan ng liderato (Perhaps, about four or five committees will have a change in leadership) starting tomorrow,” Andaya said.
Sources said following their continued support for former Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Oriental Mindoro Reynaldo Umali, chairman the
House Committee on Justice; and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, chairman of House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability, will “most likely” be replaced.
House officials, including House Secretary-General Cesar Strait Pareja and House sergeant-at-arms (Ret.) Lt. Gen. Roland Detabali will also be replaced, according to Andaya.
Reliable sources said that during the meeting of Arroyo with her staunch House allies last Thursday, there was a consensus that Andaya will assume the role of Majority Leader.
Though, Interim Majority Leader Fredenil Castro is also being eyed as the Majority Leader being a “charming” House leader and a cousin of former Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.
In a press briefing last Wednesday, Castro disclosed that the election of the new Majority Leader will be held on Monday, July 30. “We can expect it Monday or sometime next week,” he said.
Castro said he will continue to perform his duties as an Interim Majority Leader “until after such time that the regular Majority Leader is elected into office.”
Real minority, please
Meanwhile, as the fate of the new House Minority Bloc is in her hands, newly-installed Speaker Arroyo should choose the genuine House opposition that would ensure checks and balances in the Chamber, said Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo.
Even as he conceded that it is the Speaker’s call as to who will be recognized as the new minority in the Lower House, Quimbo said Arroyo should take the opportunity to properly lead the Chamber by ensuring that there is a credible and genuine House Minority.
“Matagal si Speaker GMA na nanahimik. Ito ang pagkakataon nya para mamuno ng tama. Ipakita nya kung anong klaseng Kamara ang dapat tayong magkaroon dahil yan na ang dahilan kung bakit pinalitan si Speaker Alvarez – ang kawalan ng minorya (Speaker GMA has long kept her silence. This is her chance to correctly lead. She must show what kind of Chamber we should have, because that’s where Speaker Alvarez failed – the lack of a genuine minority),” Quimbo said.
Quimbo, who has been elected as “Minority Leader” of the 12-man Liberal Party (LP) bloc in the Chamber, insisted that under the House rules, those who voted for Speaker Arroyo should automatically be part of the majority and those who abstained will be part of the minority.
Aside from Quimbo, Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez and outgoing House Majority Floor Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas are reportedly eyeing the minority leadership post.
He said that Suarez is known to be close to Arroyo and criticized the latter’s voting for the former president to the speakership as somewhat a conflict in his leading the minority bloc.