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'Fireworks' no longer expected at 'coup'-torn House before recess —solons


Three veteran lawmakers at the House of Representatives believe that fireworks are no longer to be expected at the chamber in the last three session days before the congressional recess amid the supposed ouster plot against Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

In a Dobol B sa News TV interview aired on GMA News TV on Sunday, Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., president of the National Unity Party, said he does not see another sudden change in committee chairmanships in the next three days after what happened in the chamber last week.

"Sa tingin ko sa loob ng tatlong araw, Lunes, Martes, Miyerkoles, wala na sigurong pasabog. Wala nang realignment ng mga positions. We will just concentrate sa mga pressing issues na dapat aksyunan ng ating Kamara," he said.

On Monday last week, the House voted to elect ACT-CIS party-list Representative Eric Go Yap and Kabayan party-list Representative Ron Salo as chairmen of the House Committee on Appropriation and the House contingent to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, respectively.

The two replaced Davao City Representative Isidro Ungab and Oriental Mindoro Representative Paulino Salvador Leachon in the respective positions, supposedly because their working relationships with Cayetano have turned sour.

Leachon notably belongs to the camp of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco, whom Cayetano alleged to be working behind the scenes to oust him as Speaker.

Barzaga said he believes the allegation of Cayetano, but he does not think the Speaker is only making up the "coup" plan in order to keep himself in position.

"Bago magkaroon ng botohan, siyempre may magfi-file ng motion sa House to declare the position of the speakership vacant, at sino naman ang maglalakas loob noon?" Barzaga said.

"Unang-una, 'yung motion itself, magbobotohan pa kami kung papayag kami o hindi. At sigurado sa umpisa pa lamang, denied na 'yan ng majority," he added.

Buhay party-list Representative Lito Atienza also does not believe another committee chairmanship will happen this week, especially because the "Oust me" plot of Cayetano failed.

"Palagay ko wala na, dahil mukhang aborted 'yung 'Oust me' plot or 'Kidnap me' plan. Kung hindi na itutuloy 'yun, wala na sigurong galawan 'yan," he added.

It was Atienza who has been claiming that the ouster plot is a creation of Cayetano himself, as it is only the Speaker himself who has been asserting the existence of such plan.

"Ang sabi ko, kung merong nagsabi sa yo'ng 20 congressmen, nangumpisal, e di banggitin mo 'yung mga pangalan para maging kapani-paniwala ang mga sinasabi mo. Kung statement sa pulis 'yan dahil wala kang ebidensiya, wala kang sinasabing pangalan," Atienza said.

"Baka 'yan ay claim, nilikha ninyo para magkaroon ng paraan na hindi na matuloy ang term-sharing. 'Yan ang purpose niyan, to disengage from the term-sharing," he added.

But Cayetano's party mate at the Nacionalista Party (NP) Surigao Del Norte Representative Robert Ace Barbers said such intrigues only disrupt the legislative processes at the House, and the Speaker only wanted it addressed so that they could continue focusing on their work.

"Itong recent na kuwento about a coup d'etat, of course may reaksiyon diyan ang ating Speaker dahil nga hindi dapat ito maka-hamper o makapagpatigil ng pagtakbo ng Kongreso dahil sa mga ganitong tsismis, kaya ito ay in-address agad," he said.

Barbers, nevertheless, thinks that similar intrigues would no longer surface in the future.

"Sa aking palagay, itong mga ganitong intriga ay hindi naman siguro mangyayari pa ulit ito dahil as I speak, as of today, ang ating butihing Speaker ay ino-honor pa rin 'yung usapan tungkol doon sa pagpapalit ng speakership pagdating ng October," he said.

"Ito ay gentleman's agreement. No less than the President has brokered itong ganitong usapang ito kaya wala kaming nakikitang puwedeng mangyari na hindi ito matutupad," he added.

Barzaga said the NUP and the NP have already expressed their support for Cayetano amid the supposed ouster plot against him during a meeting with him last week.

Cayetano, meanwhile, is also expected to meet with members of the PDP-Laban party at the House on Monday. —Erwin Colcol/KG, GMA News