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Bayad utang? Cayetano appoints deputy speakers to accommodate House allies, Barzaga says

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National Unity Party (NUP) President and Cavite Rep. Elpidio “Pidi” Barzaga has admitted that the ballooning number of deputy speakers is House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s way of accommodating congressmen who supported his speakership bid.

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), Barzaga said Cayetano was “considerate of lawmakers who support him.”

“Accommodation, but at the same time, it’s necessary as far as the deputy speakers are concern. Based on the the pronouncement of the speaker, they will be given specific assignments,” said Barzaga when asked if the growing numbers of deputy speakers is a form of political favor.

As of present, the House plenary has elected 18 deputy speakers but Barzaga hinted that it may further grow to 24.

Barzaga stressed that since Cayetano secured the speakership through the term-sharing deal brokered by the President Rodrigo Duterte, the House leader “has to provide positions for all political parties, for all congressmen who are all supportive of the President.”

“Therefore he needs to provide some bargaining, some positions for all political parties allied with the administration in order not to antagonize them considering that there was no fight as far as the speakership is concern,” said Barzaga.

“This would cover the NPC, the Nacionalista Party, the Lakas, the PDP Laban and even the NUP,” he added.

But Barzaga defended the ballooning number of deputy speakers, adding that it is necessary for better legislation.

He added that additional ex-officio officers in the Lower House “won’t cost the government extra.”

Section 31 of the 17th Congress’ House Rules which was adopted by the Lower House last month allows only up to 14 deputy speakers.

But House Majority Floor Leader Ferdinand Martin Romualdez clarified that the existing rules was only “provisionally adopted.

“The House Rules are, of the 17th Congress, have been provisionally adopted, and as each Congress evolves, to 18th Congress, we amend the rules for this particular Congress,” said Romualdez.

Romualdez said that Senior Deputy Majority Leader Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla will be heading the rules re-writing ad hoc committee to formalize the House Rules under the 18th Congress.

“We had some amendments already to the rules by increasing, let’s say the number of Deputy Speakers and members of the Rules committee. So the rules are quite dynamic,” said Romualdez.

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