SAF commandos deployed at Batasan amid House leadership row

Published October 12, 2020, 10:22 PM

by Aaron Recuenco 

Elite police commandos were sent to the Batasang Pambansa in Quezon City on Monday amid the leadership row in the House of Representatives.


Brig. Gen. Bernabe Balba, director of the Philippine National Police- Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), said the deployment was not intended for intimidation but just to maintain peace and order in the area.
“We are always deploying there when there is activity. We just augment the local personnel for the maintenance of peace and order,” said Balba.
The official claimed that they are not even expecting that there would be disturbance in peace and order in the House of Representatives.
The deployment of 40 SAF commandos from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday at the Batasang Pambansa was done as almost 100 congressmen went to the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City to install Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, on the other hand, held a press conference at the Batasang Pambansa along with his staunch allies.
Balba said the presence of SAF commandos at the Batasan is part of the regular conduct of security against possible protest actions in the area amid the tug-of-war for House leadership.
Last week, President Duterte appeared on television to ask the House of Representatives to spare him from the House leadership row and pass the budget  the soonest possible time. He called for a special session from October 13 to 16 to pass the national budget.
This came after Cayetano, in an apparent bid to save his post, put the House in recess until November 16 although the national budget is yet to be approved.
The House leadership quarrel between the two Duterte staunch allies came after Cayetano was accused of not honoring the agreement for term sharing with Velasco.