Fariñas admits Alvarez ordered House reshuffle

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2017 12:50 AM

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez

MANILA - House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said Wednesday he implemented House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s order to dismiss House leaders who voted no to the death penalty bill.

Fariñas said he met with the affected congressmen, including Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. 

“I went to see GMA at her office before our session to respectfully inform her of the decision of the Speaker to replace her and all others holding leadership positions similarly situated with her," Fariñas said.

He said speaking with the former president was a painful job to do.

"It was a painful job for me to do it as she is the godmother in baptism of my late son, JR. After meeting with her, I met with the House members from Central Luzon to give them the same information and for them to nominate for her replacement. After my meeting with them, they proceeded to meet with GMA. Not long after, they invited me to join them in GMA's room where we had a friendly exchange of ideas as to the possible replacement," he added. 

Fariñas also met with the seven-member Makabayan bloc, as well as others, for the same purpose. 

"The reason why I did it today is that [it] was the Speaker's instruction to me,” he said.

Alvarez earlier said that the leadership had asked majority parties to name replacements to the affected congressmen. Committee chairmanships are distributed among the majority parties according to their size and stature. Deputy speakerships are decided among regional lines.

However, the Liberal Party (LP) is not inclined to name replacements to their party mates who were removed from the House leadership. In an ambush interview after the session, Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo said the LP was surprised at the turn of events.

Quimbo reiterated his plea for the leadership to reconsider its decision.

Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos Recto, for her part, seems to have been ready for the decision. 

“Maraming salamat sa mga sumuporta sa akin sa isyung ito. It was an expected move from the majority to remove me as chairperson of the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation as a result of my no vote on the bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty," Santos-Recto said.

(Thank you to all those who supported me in this issue. It was an expected move from the majority to remove me as chairperson of the Committee on Civil Service and Professional Regulation as a result of my no vote on the bill seeking to reimpose the death penalty.)

"What is important is that I stood for my convictions and beliefs. And I will continue to do so always. I am still the representative of the lone district of Lipa City and will continue to be a public servant - of the Lipeños as well as the Filipino people," she added.

Makabayan bloc congressmen echoed the same sentiment.