JDV SPEAKERSHIP COULD PUT GLORIA ON THE ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
by Napanice (no login)
THE DAILY TRIBUNE
Kampi to join opposition with JdV win
By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo
President Arroyo’s coalition appears to be breaking up, with three ranking Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) saying they will be joining the opposition in the event Rep. Jose de Venecia Jr. is reelected Speaker, fueling speculations that the spat between De Venecia and incoming Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia would eventually split the Arroyo bloc.
In such event, the opposition in the House will swell to more than 80 members, including party-list lawmakers who have made no bones about their desire to impeach Mrs. Arroyo for Round Three.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior lawmaker said Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, also Kampi president, will not waver in his campaign to oust De Venecia, who is backed by Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, who also wears the hat of Kampi chairman.
The Camarines Sur solon said Garcia is supported not only by Kampi lawmakers but also by congressman from other parties.
Reserving his vitriol for Puno, Villafuerte lashed out at the DILG secretary for calling a National Council meeting of Kampi on June 26, insisting that, as he is the Kampi president, it is his prerogative to call for such meeting.
Villafuerte slammed Puno for trying to impose his will on the Kampi legislators, adding he is not even a congressman and must not meddle with the affairs of the Lower House.
He seethed at the threat of Puno to expel all Kampi lawmakers who would not vote for De Venecia, adding: “who is he to dictate on us?”
Manila Mayor Lito Atienza, who has served three successive terms, is being considered to replace Puno, as well as Sen. Joker Arroyo who is also said to be tapped to replace Puno.
Meanwhile, stressing that the internal squabble brought about by the speakership row, which has been dividing the party, should be resolved once and for all, Kampi spokesman Jacinto Paras confirmed the call for a national council meting on June 26.
Speaking at the Balitaan sa Serye, a weekly congressional forum with the media. Paras stressed that the word war between all protagonists for the speakers, including their backer from within or without the party, should end immediately.
“We hope that after the June 26 national council meeting, when the party would have made is official position, everyone would abide by this,” Paras said, adding that no one outside of Congress should meddle with the fight for the speakership as “this is an internal house matter.”
“Even the president has declared that she will not endorse anyone for the speakership as the selection of the Speaker is the prerogative of every house member,” said Paras.
But Villafuerte, who was also present during the forum, pointed out that it was Puno who has been meddling with the House affairs.
“Secretary Puno has been issuing statements which he has not been authorized to do,” Villafuerte declared. “As a Cabinet secretary, he is an alter ego of the president. So, if the President says she will not involve herself in the speakership race, then by all means, he should also not involve himself.”
“But then, Secretary Puno and his bet, Speaker Jose de Venecia, are known to violate official party and coalition positions,” Villafuerte said. “In the recent elections, the two have fielded candidates to slug it out with the official candidates of the coalition.”
Interestingly, Villafuerte’s statement was acknowledged by Paras, who is identified with the Puno camp, saying that De Venecia has betrayed so many times, his partymates and those in the coalition.
“He (De Venecia) has betrayed a lot among us so many times,” Paras said in agreement.
Villafuerte added that the real agenda of Puno and de Venecia is not the Cha-Cha as they are sure not to get the three fourths vote of the House, but the revival of the People’s initiative.
Villafuerte assured everyone that a House under Rep. Garcia the chamber would concentrate on social and economic issues instead of the Charter change which had been abhorred by the people.”
The congressman from Camarines Sur also clarified the issue of the minority leader.
Citing the proposal of another Kampi member, Rep. Joey Solis who was also present during the forum, Villafuerte said that the issue could also be resolved through negotiations.
Under Solis’ proposal, the losing contender for the speakership, if he is identified with the administration, should back out from the minority leader race.
Solis said this happened during the time when Komong Sumulong and the late Ramon Mitra slugged it out for the speakership. Both were identified with then President Cory Aquino.
When Sumulong lost his bid for the speakership, he backed out from the minority leadership and allowed the opposition to elect its own minority leader.
Paras admitted that aside from threshing out the speakership issue on their national council meeting, the party would undergo a revamp in its leadership.
He added that they are seriously considering Senator Arroyo to take over the post of Puno.
“Senator Joker Arroyo is the highest elected official of Kampi ,” said Paras. “And out of respect, Secretary Puno has offered Senator Arroyo the position of party chairmanship.”
But Solis quickly pointed out that Puno was only willing to vacate his post in favor of Arroyo because he (Puno) wants to take over the presidency from Villafuerte.
“He wants to oust Congressman Villafuerte and take over as party president,” said Solis.
In another development, while all contending camps for the speakership are in unison that the president should not intervene in the race for the house’s top post, an independent congressman from Laguna appealed to the president to step into the picture and settle the row.
Congressman-elect Edgar San Luis (Laguna – Independent) yesterday appealed to GMA to support a new leader in the House of Representatives who could institute the much needed reforms through “Chamber change” and “improve its trust and credibility rating among the people.”
Meanwhile, Cebuano-speaking members of Congress will vote as one for Rep. Pablo Garcia, powering the snow-balling move to install the incoming Cebu solon as Speaker when the 14 th Congress opens for its regular session on July 23, it was disclosed yesterday by Cebu Congressman Antonio Cuenco.
Posted on Jun 14, 2007, 11:14 PM from IP address 126.96.36.199