Arroyo backs Andaya amid ouster rumors
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Friday, January 11, backed her ally Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr amid rumors of an ouster plot against the outgoing Camarines Sur 1st District congressmen.
Arroyo reiterated her support for Andaya on Friday, in response to reports that Andaya’s political rival, Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Luis Raymund Villafuerte, plotted to oust him as majority leader.
“I don’t know how many congressmen share the same sentiment. As far as I can see, the majority supports the incumbent,” the Speaker told reporters in Sasmuan, Pampanga.
She said that should the coup plot against Andaya proceed in the House, Arroyo would still back him
“I am only one vote, I’d still vote for Nonoy,” said Arroyo.
But asked by reporter if the Speaker would be calling for status quo – meaning if she would order lawmakers to abandon the coup plot – Arroyo said, “I think Nonoy can take her of himself.”
“I am not an interventionist person on political matters. I already said many times in my speeches, I am selectively hands on and this is with regard to the legislative agenda that President Duterte enunciated in his last SONA (State of the Nation Address),” she added.
Rappler sought Villafuerte for comment, but he has yet to reply as of posting time.
Andaya vs Villafuerte
Andaya, who served as budget chief during the Arroyo administration, has had a long-running rivalry with Villafuerte. He had shouting match with Villafuerte, together with former Davao City 1st District representative and now Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, over the proposed P3.757-trillion budget for 2019.
Andaya will run against reelectionist Governor Miguel Luis Villafuerte, the congressman's son, in the May elections.
Andaya already said that if things escalate in the House, he would be the first person to vote for his removal as majority leader, saying the post was a “forced labor” for him. He said he had wanted his friend Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro to get the position instead.
“Gusto ko na nga ma-relieve ng duties as Majority Leader noon pa. When this was first offered to me, I begged off a hundred times. Nagtago pa nga ako…. I was happy being deputy speaker,” said Andaya.
(I wanted to be relieved of my duties as Majority Leader even before. When this was offered to me, I begged off a hundred times. I was hiding… I was happy being deputy speaker.)
“Sabi ko 6 months lang maximum (I said it would only be 6 months maximum), then please release me. This job has tied me down in Manila when I should be focusing in Camarines Sur,” said Andaya.
Despite the ouster rumors against him, Andaya said he would still push through with his investigation into the so-called flood control project scam allegedly involving Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and his relatives. – Rappler.com