Palace denies hand in House leadership change

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 21 2019 10:45 PM

MANILA - Malacañang on Monday denied having a hand in the removal of Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando Andaya as majority leader.

Andaya, who has clashed with Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno over alleged anomalies in the proposed 2019 budget, was replaced by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro.

Andaya meanwhile volunteered to chair the Appropriations Committee.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the executive branch has nothing to do with the “political intramurals happening in the House of Representatives,” adding that it respects its independence, including its internal rules and affairs.

“Now that Camarines Sur 1st District Rep. Rolando Andaya, Jr. formally yielded his post, we call on him to cease from waging a media propaganda war to besmirch the image and reputation of a member of the Cabinet before the court of public opinion,” Panelo said in a statement.

“If he has problems with the current Budget Secretary, we hope that he would look for an appropriate venue by just filing a case against him in the court of law.”

The change in the majority leadership came just as Andaya launched an investigation into the alleged anomalies in the preparation of the government's budget. He accuses Diokno of using his influence to favor a contractor owned by his in-laws. Diokno has denied this.

Panelo stressed that the Palace respects the House independence even as President Rodrigo Duterte himself admitted that her daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio had a hand in ouster of former speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who was replaced by Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.