Sara Duterte’s party says ouster of member from key House committee ‘grossly unacceptable’

Photo: ABS-CBN News
Photo: ABS-CBN News

Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the political party led by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, today condemned the ouster of Congressman Isidro Ungab from a key post in the House of Representatives, a move orchestrated by House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Ungab was removed from the chairmanship of the House appropriations committee by Cayetano because he was allegedly “more interested in intrigues” than working with the House speaker, ABS-CBN reports. Rumor has it that Cayetano was also allegedly upset at Ungab for alerting the Department of Budget and Management to improper billion-peso insertions made in the 2020 Congressional budget.

In a strongly-worded statement, the HNP said Ungab’s removal from the appropriations committee “was grossly unacceptable,” and “disadvantageous to the Duterte administration’s reform agenda.”

Read: House Speaker Cayetano says he has ‘personal objections’ to ABS-CBN franchise renewal

“We laud [Ungab] for being a good soldier of President Rodrigo Duterte and for doing his job with pride and principle,” the statement adds.

Cayetano, a staunch Duterte ally, appears to be short on friends at the moment. His feud with Ungab came shortly after Cayetano accused Marinduque Congressman Lord Alan Velasco of attempting to unseat him, an accusation that Velasco has denied.

Cayetano became the leader of the House of Representatives after he agreed to a “term-sharing” pact with Velasco, under which he would be the speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, and Velasco would take over for the last 21 months. The pact was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte, Cayetano’s pal and running mate in the 2016 elections.

Read: Cayetano accuses ABS-CBN of ‘deception,’ but insists license row not a free speech issue

While Cayetano enjoys a warm relationship with the president, he and Mayor Sara have been rumored to be at odds for quite some time. Sara is something of a power broker, and was reportedly behind the ouster of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez in 2018, when he was replaced by then-Congresswoman and former President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo.

Cayetano yesterday warned other congressmen that they’re free to leave their House committees if they don’t feel like working with him anymore, Rappler reports.

“If you’re going to continue the intrigues, you better leave your positions and then you can come back when the speaker is Congressman Velasco, right, whenever that may be. That’s how simple it is,” he said.


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