Defensor stripped of 7th post

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    REP. Mike Defensor (Anakalusugan party list) was removed as vice chair of the House committee on legislative franchises on Wednesday night, less than two weeks after he accused the House leadership of realigning P20 billion from the police and military’s pension and gratuity fund for 2021 to pad the district allocations of some lawmakers who are close to Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco.

    Defensor yesterday said he can still do his job as a lawmaker even if Velasco has stripped him of his committee positions. His eighth and remaining post is vice chairman of the committee on children’s welfare.

    Defensor, a known ally of former speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, was first stripped of his chairmanship of the committee on public accounts last December following Velasco’s election to the House’s top post. He also lost his vice chairmanship of five other committees as the new House leadership elected other lawmakers to the positions while easing out allies of the former speaker.

    Defensor’s removal was manifested on the floor by deputy majority leader Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc and was announced by House deputy speaker Michael Romero, who was removed from the same position by Cayetano’s camp last October.

    Rep. Wilter “Sharky” Palma (Lakas, Zamboanga Sibugay) replaced Defensor as vice chair of the committee on legislative franchises but Palma, who is a known ally of majority leader Martin Romualdez, lost his post as deputy majority leader to Rep. Lorenz Defensor (Iloilo).

    The committee on legislative franchises is the committee tasked to review applications for congressional franchises, including its extension and revocation.

    The panel, which is chaired by Palawan Rep. Franz Alvarez, was the committee that tackled and eventually ejected the application for franchise renewal of ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corp. last year.

    Quezon City Rep. Onyx Crisologo was elected vice chair of the House committee on games and amusement but his position as assistant majority leader was given to Palawan Rep. Gil Acosta.

    Defensor protested the removal of Palma and Crisologo as deputy majority
    leader and assistant majority leader, respectively, since these meant they were also removed as members of the committee on rules.

    “They have taken out two of the most hardworking members of the rules committee in the person of Cong Sharky Palma and Cong Onyx Crisologo for no apparent reason. Ang masama pa, hindi man lang sila kinausap o sinabihan bagama’t nasa floor sila nang biglang ginawa ang announcement (What’s worse is they were not even told even if they were on the floor when the announcement was made). He (Velasco) did the same thing to me in January, wala ring pasabi (Also, without notice). Makikita talaga ang kawalan ng professionalism sa kasalukuyang liderato (The absence of professionalism of this leadership is very apparent),” he said.