By Rizal Obanil
House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte explained why two congressmen, who are supposedly allied with House Speaker Alan Cayetano’s rival for speakership, were removed from their respective committees.
In an interview Wednesday on CNN Philippines’ The Source hosted by Pinky Webb, Villafuerte, Deputy House Speaker and Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative LRay Villafuerte said: “Number one, if you’re a member of the majority, you should support the decision of the majority, the priorities of the majority. If you’re going against the majority, especially the leadership, it’s time for you to go. So it’s either you resign or get kicked out. That’s what happened,” explaining the reason why Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab was removed from his position.
While in Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon’s case, Villafuerte said: “In the case of Congressman Leachon, very clear, he called me a liar, based on the statement I made. Sabi ko di ba? That twenty, at least twenty congressmen were plotting to oust the speaker. And that was an echo of what (the) speaker said. He called me a liar, technically he’s calling the speaker a liar.”
“So you know, if you question the leadership, you should resign, but the main reason he was taken out, what you know, I should tell everybody, when Alan was elected speaker, si Congressman Leachon asked Alan for him to be a member of the HRET and then chairman. But what he did not reveal was that he had a case at the HRET. He was a lawyer, out of delicadeza, dapat di n’ya ginawa yon (he shouldn’t have done that), that’s conflict of interest,” he added.
“Then secondly, eto totoo ‘to (this one’s true) there are already reports coming, reaching the Speaker that there are (is) allegedly corruption in the HRET. Cash in exchange for favorable decisions, then thirdly, merong nag-rereport (there’s someone telling us) he’s using his position as a PDP (Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino) member, na yung mga may kaso don na (those who have cases at the HRET) non-PDP, sabi n’ya sumali kayo (he’s saying join us) or supportahan n’yo si Lord Velasco (or support Lord Velasco).
“Which we feel is wrong. Because, you know, si Presidente (the President), the leader of the PDP-Laban anti-corruption ang crusade n’ya e (his crusade) and yet here’s a member of the House. Ngayon (now), naging knee-jerk reaction s’ya na mina-muddle yung issue (he’s saying that the issues being muddled). I think he has to answer this issue,” the Camarines Sur representative said.
Webb then asked whether Cayetano’s camp was aware of the issues against Leachon at the time when the congressman was still with the HRET. Villafuerte replied: “At the time no kasi (because) ano e because HRET had to be constituted first, e local issue yan e (that’s a local issue), we really didn’t know that na merong pending (that there was a pending case).
“But we were waiting for him to be objective or at least have the delicadeza to not inhibit. Kasi kung tinanggal s’ya before (because if he was removed back then), sasabihin oy tinatanggal yung main ano ni Lord (they will say that the main support of Lord is being removed,” he added.