Philippine boxing hero and senator Manny Pacquiao on Monday joined the 1Pacman partylist in assailing the removal of Rep. Mikee Romero as deputy speaker of the House of Representatives.
Together with 1Pacman partylist Rep. Eric Pineda, Pacquiao said Romero’s relief from the post because of the brewing leadership squabble in the House is “uncalled for,” if not unfair.
Pacquiao and Pineda are among the institutional founders of 1Pacman partylist that was organized to represent the marginalized and underprivileged sectors in society.
Pineda, chairman of the House Committee on Labor, said that in a recent discussion with Pacquiao, the senator lauded Romero for exhibiting stellar performance as deputy speaker in the House.
The popular administration senator cited Romero for his “continuous dedication in achieving the goals of the partylist and for his hard work,” said Pineda.
Pacquiao, Pineda said, was surprised when Romero was dragged into the speakership fight between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco when all he did was accompany the latter to last week’s meeting with President Duterte.
Prior to the meeting, Malacanang reminded the feuding majority bloc leaders to bring along seven or eight of their allies to the meeting with the President.
Romero was removed from his post two days after the Malacanang meeting. The House leadership put Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro in the vacant deputy speakership post.
Castro was named deputy speaker a few hours after he delivered a scathing privilege speech against Velasco’s camp, saying that those who cannot support Cayetano’s speakership should resign their post.
“This act is uncalled for and a complete contrast to the call of unity within Congress. Cong. Romero is the president of the Partylist Coalition. He represents the Partylist Bloc — the second largest group in the Lower House. Removing him as Deputy Speaker is an affront against the coalition,” Pineda said.
Pineda reminded the pro-Cayetano bloc that 1Pacman partylist is a fierce advocate of the welfare of marginalized Filipinos.
“Ensuring that there is sufficient representation in Congress is necessary to protect the interests of our constituents. It is also a fact that partylist representatives are the most active members in pursuing legislative agendas that are beneficial for our people, especially now that we are experiencing the effects of the pandemic,” said Pineda.
The administration lawmaker aired the belief that the removal of Romero was prompted after the latter accompanied Velasco to his meeting with the President in Malacañang last week.
“On the issue of term-sharing, the coalition support’s the President Duterte’s wish to follow through with the agreement he brokered. Furthermore, as part of the majority bloc, our loyalty is with the President and we should support whoever his choice as Speaker come Oct. 14,” said Pineda.
“Sen. Manny also supports the call of the President to enforce the 15-21 term-sharing scheme, between the incumbent Speaker Cayetano and Rep. Velasco,” Pineda said.
The 1Pacman partylist solon added: “We will only work harder than ever to make sure that amid the circumstances, our constituents will still be able to enjoy the public service they deserve,” he added.