Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is closely identified with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was removed as chairman of the powerful House appropriations committee and replaced by neophyte Rep. Eric Go Yap of party-list ACT-CIS.
Senate PRIB/Released/File
Cayetano opponents lose key House posts
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A minor revamp has been implemented in the House of Representatives, just days after Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano revealed an alleged plot to oust him, as three officials close to his perceived successor were removed from their posts.

Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, who is closely identified with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was removed as chairman of the powerful House appropriations committee and replaced by neophyte Rep. Eric Go Yap of party-list ACT-CIS.

Yap, former chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, is a close friend of Sara’s brother, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte. Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos will take over Yap’s committee.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon – a close ally and confidant of speaker-in-waiting Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque – was also removed as chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Leachon was replaced by fellow lawyer Rep. Ron Salo of party-list Kabayan, who previously chaired the House committee on public information. Salo now leads the nine-member tribunal that resolves and settles electoral protests among congressmen.

In reaction, Ungab said, “I believe that the only guide to a man is his conscience, and the truth will always prevail no matter what. I have served my country and people well to the utmost of my ability. I accept my fate and so be it.”

Leachon, in a separate statement, said, “I will always be mighty proud of my actions as I was raised and taught that there is never a wrong time in doing the right thing. They can rob and take away all of our positions, especially from PDP-Laban, but we’ll never bow down to this masked leadership of tyranny. It will always be a nice feeling putting a hard fight for a friend and our cause.”

Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero commended Cayetano for appointing members of the 54-man Party-List Coalition Foundation Inc., which he heads, to key House positions like those of Yap and Salo.

“The appointment of Rep. Yap is particularly crucial and historic because he is the first party-list congressman to hold the post of appropriations committee chairman,” Romero said.

House Deputy Majority Leader Rep. Bernadette Herrera of party-list Bagong Henerasyon said Salo’s appointment to the HRET is a “step up for the Kabayan solon from his chairmanship of the House public information committee.”

“Reps. Yap and Salo represent the continuing fulfillment of the campaign of the Party-List Coalition for much better representation in Congress. With this development, the PCFI vows to continue its coordinated advancement of party-list agenda to address the plight of the poor and the marginalized,” she said.

Although Cayetano is confident of the “full support” of the majority of House members, he also has to get this support “every minute of the day.”

“We don’t know if things will change tomorrow,” he said, noting that he would honor a previous agreement where he sits for 15 months as Speaker and relinquish this to Velasco who will lead the House for 21 months. – With Ralph Edwin Villanueva

ALAN PETER CAYETANO
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