MANILA - The chairperson of the House committee on Health said Wednesday she would like to hear from Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano why she was removed from her post and found out her removal through social media.
Quezon 4th District Rep. Angelina Helen Tan was the latest committee chairperson to be removed in the escalating power struggle in the chamber as lawmakers approved on second reading the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget upon Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's motion.
Tan said she received text messages from sympathizers after which her chief of staff showed her a tweet of a House reporter announcing her removal as committee chair.
"No one (told me), as in sobrang nagulat talaga ako. Hindi ko talaga maisip kasi I'm working quietly on the committee on health. I've been very supportive on all the plans ng leadership. Siguro sa lahat ng tinanggal ako 'yung magugulat bakit ako 'yung tinanggal," she told ANC's Headstart.
(No one, I was shocked. I cannot think of any way I would be removed because I'm working quietly on the committee on Health. Out of all of the House leaders removed, I may be the most surprised as to why I was removed.)
"Personally I'm confident na ako naman ay di ako delinquent ng chair ng committee or a member of the House. Kung panghahawakan ko 'yung sinabi niya (Cayetano), gusto ko marinig sana from his mouth what could be the reason for my removal as chair of the committee."
(Personally I'm confident that I'm not a delinquent committee chair or a member of the House. If I will believe what he said, I want to hear from him what could be the reason for my removal as chair of the committee.)
1-Pacman Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero, an ally of Cayetano's rival Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, was earlier stripped of his House deputy leader title.
The immediate passage of the proposed 2021 budget on second reading without interpellation stifled lawmakers' rights, Tan said.
She said she had hoped to call for the return of some of the health department's slashed funds.
"Maliit na lang 'yung panahon na binibigay sa'min to interpellate, nawala pa 'yung pagkakataon," she said.
(They give us little time to interpellate and now they removed it.)
"Tayo naman ay palaging suportado ang mabilisang pagpasa ng ating budget. Pero 'yung pagkakataon sana at proseso, 'yun lang ang right na pwede nating i-exercise at this time."
(We are always in support of the immediate passage of the budget but that was the only right we could exercise at this time.)
There is a "danger" that the 2021 national budget may again be delayed due to the power struggle at the House, Tan added.
"There’s a danger na mangyari talaga 'yun especially with the crisis in Congress although he (Cayetano) promised that on Nov. 16 the house will deliver the budget to Senate pero maraming dapat siguro i-resolve sa members," she said.
(There’s a danger that will happen especially with the crisis in Congress although he promised that on Nov. 16 the house will deliver the budget to Senate but many things have yet to be resolved among the members.)
The last time the national budget was delayed was in 2018, when former House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo staged a coup against Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.