There is no rift in the administration’s “UniTeam” despite the alleged fallout of two of its members, House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe said Wednesday.
This comes after the House ousted two allies of former President Rodrigo Duterte from their deputy speakerships on Tuesday in former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab.
“We still have the UniTeam. In fact, we are focused on trying to accomplish even more of what is needed from the House of Representatives so we can even transmit it earlier to the Senate so they can also pass important legislations,” Dalipe told ABS-CBN last night.
The majority leader also denied that the supposed rivalry of Vice President Sara Duterte and Speaker Martin Romualdez has something to do with the 2028 presidential elections.
“As far as the House of Representatives is concerned, we are focused on trying to pass this legislation that would really help our country. So we’re not thinking about 2028,” Dalipe explained.
In a separate statement, Arroyo on Wednesday committed to continue supporting the leadership of Romualdez despite her removal as one of the deputy speakers in the House.
“Even as an ordinary congressman, I will remain true to my word to President Marcos Jr. — I will continue to support his preferred man for House Speaker, and that is Speaker Martin Romualdez,” the Pampanga solon said in a statement.
Arroyo said the developments at the lower chamber must prompt everyone to “move on.”
“Having made myself clear, I think we should now move on to more pressing national concerns,” she added.
The House removed Arroyo as deputy speaker just six months after she was stripped of her senior deputy speaker title, which is held by only one person in the lower chamber.
Meanwhile, Senator Ronald Dela Rosa also vowed to remain with Duterte’s Partido ng Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP-Laban) amid the resignation of the party’s treasurer, Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Gonzales — who was sworn in Tuesday night under Romualdez’s Lakas-CMD party with two other lawmakers.
“We can’t do anything if they no longer want us,” said Dela Rosa while alluding to Gonzales Jr., whose move the elder Duterte welcomed.
Gonzales of Pampanga and Reps. Carmelo Lazatin II of Pampanga and Zaldy Villa of Siquijor – also erstwhile PDP-Laban members — joined Lakas-CMD, which now has 77 members in the House of Representatives.
“We are very honored to welcome Senior Deputy Speaker Dong, Cong. Jon and Cong. Zaldy to our party. They are a great addition to the strength and diversity of Lakas-CMD, which is a coalition of hard-working public servants who share a common goal of serving the Filipino people with integrity and dedication under President Marcos’ administration,” Romualdez said in a statement.
Lanao del Sur Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong also expressed his “deep gratitude” to the Speaker and the House leadership for his election as Deputy Speaker on Tuesday night.
“As the representative of the 2nd district of Lanao del Sur and as a Deputy Speaker, and in compliance with the resolution that we overwhelmingly adopted on Monday, I am committed to defending the honor and integrity of the House of Representatives,” Balindong said.
He said congressmen are duty-bound, individually and collectively, to preserve the solidarity of the institution they belong to.
Balindong replaced Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, while Isabela Rep. Antonio Albano took the deputy speaker mantle from Arroyo.
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