Mike Defensor ready to be removed as House panel chair


Posted at Oct 19 2020 08:34 AM | Updated as of Oct 19 2020 01:51 PM

Anakalusugan Party List Representative Mike Defensor makes a manifestation during summation for the ABS-CBN franchise hearing at the House of Representatives at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City on July 09, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA – A lawmaker allied with ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said Monday he was ready to be removed from a committee chairmanship to clear the way for the new leadership in the lower chamber.

Speaking to ANC’s “Matters of Fact,” Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said newly installed Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco has a free hand to choose whoever he fully trusts.

“The Speaker will of course choose among his supporters kung sino ang gusto niyang mapunta dito sa mga kometing ito (on who he wants to put in these committees),” he said. “Okay naman sa akin (I’m fine with that). Whatever will be the decision.”

Whoever should lead the House panel on public accounts, it is crucial to have the support of the new Speaker since it investigates government agencies, Defensor said.

The committee is tasked to examine and scrutinize “audit reports on the performance of all government agencies to determine their adherence to or compliance with the plans and programs authorized through appropriations approved by the Legislature,” according to the House of Representatives’ website.

Defensor, who supported Cayetano’s extension as Speaker, said he would support Velasco in respect of the institution.

“Yes, ako naman, sinabi ko dati pa na (I’ve said before) it’s the institution. You have the leadership of the House,” he said.

In a later interview, Velasco said he cannot say yet if he is replacing Defensor, but he will evaluate the performance of committee chairpersons over the congressional recess.

Velasco also said he is "not attacking anyone" as he underscored that he has not "really removed a lot of people."

"During the recess, I would evaluate actually some of the posts in the committees and see if they are still performing or they need to be changed," he told ANC's Headstart.

"There are some posts that are really needing changing mainly because some of the posts require the trust and confidence of the Speaker," he said.

On Wednesday, a close ally of Cayetano, Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, was removed as Deputy Speaker. He was replaced by Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, an ally of Velasco.

Aside from Romero, another Velasco ally, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, took over Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte's Senior Deputy Speaker post.

The President’s son was handed the chairmanship of the House committee on accounts. 

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