House members lose committees as coup rumors swirl

House members lose committees as coup rumors swirl
Composite photo shows Rep. Isidro Ungab (Davao City) and Rep. Doy Leachon (Oriental Mindoro)
House of Representatives

MANILA, Philippines — Two members of the House of Representatives lost their committee chairmanships on Monday as rumors of a leadership change swirl at the House of Representatives.

The House majority ousted Rep. Isidro Ungab (Davao City) as the chair of the powerful appropriations committee. The four-term Davao legislator was replaced by Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS), former chair of the committee on games and amusement.

Ungab is a known ally of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio.

Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon (Oriental Mindoro), an ally of Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) was also replaced as the head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Rep. Ron Salo (Kabayan party-list) replaced Leachon as the head of the six-member House delegation to the tribunal.

It was Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin "Boying" Remulla (Cavite), Cayetano's party mate at the Nacionalista Party, who moved to replace Ungab and Leachon.

Coup rumors

Cayetano said Sunday that House lawmakers “can remove me” if this is really the sentiment of his colleagues.  

This, after he accused Velasco of plotting to oust him from speakership—an accusation denied by the Marinduque solon.

“These reports are far from the truth,” Velasco said.

Cayetano claimed that Velasco’s camp offered lawmakers chairmanship positions and budget allocations so he could take over the chamber’s top position.

A day before the House reorganization, Leachon called on Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte, a key ally of Cayetano, to keep his mouth shut.

“Produce the names of those House members who were allegedly enticed with chairmanship position because that’s not true. I’ve been with [Congressman] Velasco almost everyday and there’s not even a single moment that such alleged offer was ever made to anybody,” Leachon said.

In 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte brokered a term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco.

Under the deal, the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker would serve as House speaker for 15 months and would be succeeded by Velasco for 21 months. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from The STAR/Delon Porcalla




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