Barbers says sorry to Filipinos, not Pichay, for 'unparliamentary behavior'

Ivy Jean Vibar, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2016 09:25 PM

MANILA – After almost coming to blows with Surigao del Sur Representative Prospero Pichay during a committee meeting at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Surigao del Norte Representative Robert "Ace" Barbers apologized to the Filipino people for his "unparliamentary behavior."

"I apologize to the people, sa ginawa kong [na] uncalled for," Barbers said. 

However, he said that he does not owe Pichay an apology.

"Hindi ako pwedeng mag-sorry sa kanya, dahil wala naman akong dapat ipag-sorry sa kanya. Sa Kongreso at sa taumbayan ako humihingi ng sorry. Alam ko naman kung ano ang nagawa ko," he said in a phone interview on DZMM.

Barbers denied cursing during the hearing as alleged by Pichay. 

However, he admitted that he and his fellow lawmaker have a history of butting heads over issues in their province, but clarified that these have nothing to do with what was discussed earlier at the House.

The conflict between the two congressmen arose during a hearing of the House Committee on Constitutional Amendment, after lawmakers debated whether to vote on revising the 1987 Constitution through a constituent assembly, or a constitutional convention. 

Pichay raised a motion for the Lower House to invite the Senate to convene a constitutional assembly, which was objected to by Barbers, who said they should not entertain a "stupid motion."

After a recess was called, Barbers stood up and approached Pichay, which prompted Cebu Congresswoman Gwen Garcia to put a halt to a possible confrontation between the two.

In a phone interview during ANC’s Top Story, Pichay said that he considered bringing the issue to the Congress ethics committee.

"OK lang namin magka-initan basta issues, hindi personal [ang pinaguusapan]," he said.

The two lawmakers had yet to speak to each other after the near-altercation, Barbers said.