Rolando Andaya, former House leader and budget chief, dies at 53

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Rolando Andaya, former House leader and budget chief, dies at 53
“The senators unilaterally decided on the budget cuts and realigned them to other items based on request of individual proponents,” claimed Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya Jr., chairman of the House committee on appropriations.
KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Former House Majority Leader, budget chief and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr., has died at the age of 53, his children Ranton and Katrina announced Thursday.

“With deep grief and sadness, we announce the untimely death of our father … this morning,” they wrote on his official Facebook page, without going into detail on the cause of his death.

They continued, “We request for your fervent prayers for his eternal repose, and to allow us, his family, to grieve privately our loss.”

Andaya ran in the last elections for Camarines Sur governor but lost to Luigi Villafuerte, despite having bagged the endorsement of former Vice President Leni Robredo who was then running for president.

Andaya was a lawyer from a political family who worked with the Securities and Exchange Commission before being elected as Camarines Sur representative for his first term in 1998. He was subsequently re-elected for two more terms.

In the 11th Congress, Andaya was among the 40 lawmakers who endorsed the impeachment complaint against then President Joseph Estrada.

He served as chairperson of the powerful House appropriations panel in the 12th and 13th Congress until 2006, when his term was cut short as then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed him to head the budget department.

As budget chief, he was accused of receiving at least P255 million in “commissions” for projects of the Department of Agrarian Reform as part of the multi-billion peso Priority Development Assistance Fund scam, which he denied.

He was charged by the Office of the Ombudsman with graft and malversation before the Sandiganbayan over his and other Arroyo officials’ alleged misuse of the Malampaya gas fund in 2017.

Andaya remained a lawmaker in the latter years of his life as he kept the seat of Camarines Sur representative from 2010 to 2019, after which his wife, Marissa, succeeded him until her death due to cancer in 2020.

In the 17th Congress, Andaya was deputy speaker for Bicol before being elected as majority leader following the coup that ousted Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as House speaker.

Andaya stepped down as majority leader to once again take the helm of the appropriations panel — a stint which courted controversy and discord among lawmakers in both houses over budgetary realignments that some senators viewed to be illegal.

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