Defensor hits ouster as House panel chair, claims Velasco sowing distrust

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2020 05:42 PM

Defensor hits ouster as House panel chair, claims Velasco sowing distrust 1
Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor makes a manifestation during summations for the ABS-CBN franchise hearing at the House of Representatives at the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City on July 9, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA — Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor cried foul Thursday after learning he was kicked out as chairman of the House of Representatives Public Accounts committee, months after his ally Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano was replaced as House Speaker. 

The lawmaker accused House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco of sowing public distrust of the legislature. Velasco's first two months at the chamber's helm have seen changes in the House leadership, including the removal of Cayetano allies from plum positions.

"It is important that we as the House of Representatives protect the Filipino people’s trust in us as their elected officials. However, Speaker [Lord Allan] Velasco’s leadership is causing distrust of the Congress among Filipinos," Defensor claimed. 

Velasco took the helm of the House of Representatives after Cayetano's bid to stay in power beyond their term-sharing pact was foiled in October.

Defensor played a key role in Cayetano's attempt to hold on to the chamber's top post when he moved to deny the Taguig Representative's motion declaring the House Speaker post vacant. 

Defensor was replaced by Probinsiyano Ako Rep. Jose Bonito Singson. The ousted panel chairman then claimed Velasco's actions show "arrogance and unprofessionalism."

"These actions show arrogance and unprofessionalism from Speaker Velasco and cause citizens to doubt his ability to lead the House at a time when we need unity," Defensor said.

He said he expected Velasco to give him "proper notice" before kicking him out of the chairmanship.

"He also mishandled changing the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee by not even giving me proper notice, even when he had the opportunity to tell me while we were at a meeting together discussing investigations and bills lined up before the Committee."

Velasco ignored Defensor’s statements.