Minimal reorganization continues at House of Representatives

Published November 25, 2020, 7:53 PM

by Ben Rosario

The chairman of the House Committee on Good Government and Public Accountability who led the investigation into alleged franchise violations of the ABS-CBN television network was relieved from his post as the current House leadership resumed a “minimal reorganization” on Wednesday.

Bulacan Rep. Jonathan Sy-Alvarado was replaced by neophyte DIWA Party-list Rep. Michael Edgar Aglipay.

Sy Alvarado is among the close allies of former speaker and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano who were sacked from key positions in the Lower House following the ascent of incumbent Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.

Last week, the House leadership replaced Reps. Dan Fernandez (NUP, Laguna); and Fredenil Castro (Lakas-CMD, Capiz) as deputy speakers.  Fernandez was replaced by Deputy Speaker Rufus Rodriguez (CDP, Cagayan de Oro City) and Lito Atienza (Buhay Party-list), respectively.

Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu was also relieved as deputy speaker but his replacement, Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar declined the position.

The Velasco leadership also sacked Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo from the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal and appointed Caloocan City Rep. Dale “Along” Malapitan to the position.

Sy-Alvarado, Fernandez and Abu played significant roles in the denial by the Lower House of the legislative franchise renewal sought by ABS-CBN network which has gone off the air.

However, it is believed that their relief was borne out of by the lack of confidence in them by the Velasco group.

Tagged as “Cayetano Loyalists”, the three former deputy speakers allegedly campaigned strongly for the former speaker’s continued stay in power and scrap the 15-21 gentleman’s agreement for term sharing in the speakership that Cayetano and Velasco forged last year.

However, first to go among Cayetano’s allies was Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, an outspoke critic of Velasco.  He was replaced as deputy speaker by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Doy Leachon.

In a press briefing  on Wednesday, Atienza said the current reorganization has not been triggered by political party allocation for top posts in the chamber.

It was earlier reported that Fernandez and Alvarado were given their walking papers after their political party, the National Unity Party, dwindled in members as a result of the expulsion of 15 congressmen who supported Velasco’s speakership.

The NUP has been among the political parties that supported Cayetano’s speakership.

Atienza said the performance of committee chairmen and other top House leaders is being evaluated and will serve as basis for the leadership’s decision.