MANILA - Las Piñas lone district Rep. Camille Villar declined her designation as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives hours after her election on Wednesday.
Villar was among lawmakers who were elected to replace three House Deputy Speakers who served during the Speakership of Taguig-Pateros 1st Dist. Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
Cayetano was ousted last month after initially attempting to stay at the House helm despite a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who eventually replaced him.
The House, upon the motion of House Deputy Majority Floor Leader XJ Romualdo who led the floor at the session on Wednesday, unanimously elected Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez as Deputy Speaker, replacing Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro; Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza as Deputy Speaker, replacing Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez; and Villar as Deputy Speaker, replacing Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu.
But, in a letter to Velasco released to the media late Wednesday night hours, Villar told the House leader that she will be declining her designation as Deputy Speaker.
“I would like to express my sincere appreciation for the honor and opportunity offered me. Allow me, however, to humbly decline the nomination and designation as Deputy Speaker," she said.
"It is an opportune time to work with my fellow congressmen and the leaders of the House of Representatives on policy measures that would give personal and economic relief to our kababayans amid the past disasters and the pandemic. But the greater tact is adherent responsibility to our constituents, the adroit loyalty to allies and friends and the constant affinity to the leadership and nation," she said.
"May this communication be read soonest in plenary and be reflected on the records of the chamber. Rest assured that I am committed to your goals as a partner in development and will support your legislative agenda in the formation of a Congress of the people," the lawmaker added.
Before the election of new Deputy Speakers on Wednesday, another Cayetano ally, Camarines Sur 2nd Dist. LRay Villafuerte was already replaced as Deputy Speaker by Mikee Romero who himself was ousted by the Cayetano leadership during the last month's intramurals for the term sharing agreement.
Villar is the daughter of former Senate President Manny Villar and incumbent Senator Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Party, which counts Cayetano and ousted deputy speaker Abu as members.
Meanwhile, Cayetano reminded Velasco of the terms of their term-sharing agreement, which supposedly include not reshuffling House leaders after they have taken their turns for the Speakership.
"Pero ganyan po talaga kasi, sa politika po. Pero, kung napaalala nila po sa amin before na 'pag may usapan, dapat matupad, siguro, yun na lang ang message ko - na kung ano man ang usapan, dapat matupad," Cayetano said.