MANILA - The House of Representatives elected Monday afternoon Representatives Arnolfo Teves, Rimpy Bondoc, Eric Martinez, Bernadette Herrera Dy, Kristine Singson Meehan, Divina Grace Yu, Rogelio Pacquiao, Wesley Gatchalian and former Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante as deputy speakers.
The 9 lawmakers were elected just as Deputy Speakers Aurelio Dong Gonzales and Johnny Pimentel were ousted from their positions, despite being PDP partymates of Velasco.
Teves got into a word war with the camp of ousted Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano over the 2021 Budget just as the Velasco and Cayetano camps were beginning to spar over their term-sharing agreement that ended with Velasco’s election.
Martinez was ousted as Chairman of the Committee on Youth and Sports by the Cayetano Speakership.
Abante was Minority Leader to Cayetano but quit that post and joined the Majority upon Velasco’s election as Speaker.
Bondoc served as the floor leader in the session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza that elected Velasco, while Herrera Dy, Singson Meehan, Yu, Pacquiao and Gatchalian are known Velasco allies.
The latest movement brought the total number of Deputy Speakers to 29.
Pimentel was eventually named Chair of the Special Committee on Strategic Intelligence, replacing Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, a critic of Velasco.
Gonzales was named chair of the Special Committee on Bases Conversion, vice Cavite Rep. Francis Gerald Abaya.
Rep. Munir Arbison was named as member of the House contingent to the Commission on Appointments vice Benjamin Agarao.
Rep. John Reynald Tiangco is the new Chair of the Committee on Trade and Industry vice Gatchalian, while Rep. Sandra Eriguel was elected Chair of the Committee on Interparliamentary Relations, replacing Yu.
Rep. Alfred Vargas replaced Eriguel as Chair of the Committee on Social Services.
Rep. Tyrone Aggabas was named Deputy Majority Leader vice Herrera-Dy, while Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan takes over Singson Meehan’s slot as Assistant Majority Leader.
Tiangco is a member of the so-called Yamasaki Group of neophytes who were among the early supporters of Velasco’s speakership bid.
Meanwhile for the minority, Rep. Ed Gullas was named minority member to the Committee on Strategic Intelligence.
Previously, Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza appealed to his colleagues to give Velasco a free hand in reorganizing the House to make sure only those with merit get positions. This despite the Cayetano camp’s insistence that Velasco make minimal changes to the House leadership.