MANILA - Newly-installed House Minority Leader Joseph Paduano said Tuesday he wants the bloc to get the chairmanship of the Committee on Public Accounts, currently held by Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor.
Paduano assumed the post after Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. joined the Majority last week.
"Public accounts should be with minority. That was issue raised with (former) minority floor leader Abante, (senior deputy minority leader) Janette Garin and myself. We told Cayetano that position should belong to minority," he said during his first press briefing as minority leader.
"Kasi yan isa sa pinaka-important na committee para sa minority. Kailangan talaga at certain level, sabi ko nga without sacrificing role as fiscalizers, we have somewhat rapport sa leadership."
(It's one of the most important committees for the minority. We need to have rapport with leadership at a certain level without sacrificing our role as fiscalizers.)
Paduano said he will renew this bid, or at least get a vice chairmanship.
Defensor, a staunch ally of ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, earlier said he would respect any changes that would be made to House chairmanships by House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
After a controversial power struggle, Velasco replaced Cayetano as House Speaker last week, putting into fruition the term-sharing deal that President Rodrigo Duterte brokered last year.
Aside from the Public Accounts committee, Paduano also said they were eyeing membership in the House Ethics Committee, currently led by Nueva Ecija Rep. Ria Vergara of the majority.
"Ethics dapat may taga-minority dun. Yun senior membership dun sa major committees importante yun...We’re just making sure that all major committees will be represented by the minority bloc," he said.
(Ethics committee should have a member from the minority. We need senior membership in all major committees.)
"Aayusin pa namin, possibly we will amend the rules para naman mabigyan ng halaga yung senior membership nung minority in all major committees. All others kasi except siguro sa good government."
(We will take care of it, possibly we will amend the rules so that the minority's senior membership can be given importance in all major committees. All others except maybe the committee on good government."
Paduano said he supported neither Cayetano nor Velasco as Speaker in 2019 but admitted he was among those who accompanied the latter to Malacanang to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte.
"I am not close to Speaker Lord because he’s not my speaker in the 2019 inaugural session. Alam niya yan. Alam din ni (former) Speaker Cayetano that he's not my Speaker. "
(He knows that. Former Speaker Cayetano also knows that he's not my Speaker.)
"To be honest with you, ako, para sakin, (for me) Speaker Lord now has all the right to be the next Speaker of House because of that term sharing brokered by President. It’s all about question of palabra de honor. Palabra de honor kahit sa ordinaryong Pilipino, mahalaga yan (is important even to ordinary Filipinos)."