House of Representatives

Amid ouster rumors, 4 Romualdez allies lose key posts in a week

Rambo Talabong
Amid ouster rumors, 4 Romualdez allies lose key posts in a week

LOSING POWER. House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.

File photo by Alecs Ongcal/Rappler

The latest ally of House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez to lose a post is Pampanga congressman Mikey Arroyo, though Arroyo clarified that he personally requested it

Amid rumors that Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez would be ousted as majority leader, 4 of his known allies lost plum House posts in a span of a week.

From Tuesday, March 9, to Tuesday, March 16, the following Romualdez allies lost their posts:

  • Anakalusugan Representative Mike Defensor, as vice chair of the committee on legislative franchises
  • Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Representative Wilter “Sharky” Wee Palma II, as deputy majority leader
  • Quezon City 1st District Representative Anthony Peter “Onyx” Crisologo, as assistant majority leader
  • Pampanga 2nd District Representative Juan Miguel “Mikey” Arroyo, as vice chair of the appropriations committee

Arroyo was removed as appropriations committee vice chair just minutes before the plenary ended its session on Tuesday, but the lawmaker clarified that he himself had requested it.

In a statement sent to Rappler on Wednesday, March 17, Arroyo said he “personally asked” Speaker Lord Allan Velasco that he be removed as vice chair of the appropriations committee since he was already serving as the deputy majority leader and the energy committee chair.

“It was never and should never be considered a personal attack against me,” said Arroyo, the son of former president and House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is the president emeritus of Lakas-CMD.

Why does this matter?

Though not a personal attack, the losses add to the weakening of the Lakes-CMD party, one of the major party blocs in the House of Representatives. 

Palma, Crisologo, and Arroyo are all members of the party, while Defensor is a known ally of Romualdez.

Lakas-CMD’s highest ranking member is currently Romualdez, who was once in the running to become the House Speaker, until Velasco clinched the post thanks to the intervention of President Duterte in October 2020. (READ: INSIDE STORY: Cayetano’s hubris turns Batasan into the House of Lord)

Rumors about Romualdez losing his post swirled in March, partly driven by Defensor’s claims, without proof, that Velasco and his allies were planning to do so.

Senior Deputy Speaker Doy Leachon, who is a part of Velasco’s inner circle, refuted the rumor in a text message to reporters on Tuesday, March 16.

“It’s not true. I wish I knew if it were true. [There’s] no reason at all, because relationship with ML (Majority Leader) Martin has been so far professional and untainted,” said Leachon.

Velasco and Romualdez have been silent on the latter’s rumored removal as majority leader. – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.