Arroyo, independent bloc members get committee memberships

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014


HOUSE Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. recommended the giving of committee assignments to Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and eight other members of the independent minority bloc.

Arroyo, a former president who is now under hospital arrest for plunder charges, is expected to be assigned as member of the committees on energy and on trade and industry. Her membership is expected to be read in the plenary within the week.

Technically, the group led by Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez is not entitled to any committee membership as the House rules allow only members of the majority and the minority bloc headed by San Juan City Representative Ronaldo Zamora to be members of legislative panels.

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Romualdez lost his bid as the Minority leader to Zamora last year.

The grant of committee assignments to the nine-man independent minority bloc leaves Navotas Representative Tobias Tiangco as the only House member without a legislative panel membership.

Under the House rules, legislators may attend and participate in any committee hearings and discussion but are not allowed to vote.

Zamora admitted that his opinion was sought by Belmonte prior to the grant of committee responsibilities to the independents.

Zamora refused to comment but he said that he and members of the minority bloc would have stuck to the rules and stayed out of any committee assignments had they lost the minority leadership elections.

"We were all aware of the consequences of losing that election," Zamora said.

Other members of the independent minority bloc who were given committee membership include: Arroyo's youngest son, Representative Diosdado Macapagal-Arroyo (Camarines Sur) - committees on agriculture and food; dangerous drugs and Bicol Recovery and Economic Development; Representative Lani Mercado-Revilla (Cavite) - committees on aquaculture and fisheries resources; welfare of children and veterans affairs; Representative Aleta Suarez (Quezon) - committees on appropriations; on health and on Southern Tagalog Development; Representative Philip Pichay (Surigao del Norte) - committees on transportation, on ways and means, on banks and financial intermediaries and on Civil Service and Professional Regulation; Representative Victor Ortega (La Union) - committees on agriculture and food; Appropriations; Higher and Technical Education; and on Inter-Parliamentary Relations and Diplomacy; Representative Jonathan de la Cruz (Abakada partylist) - committees on basic education and culture; civil Service and professional regulation; Globalization and WTO and on Science and Technology; Representative Lito Atienza (Buhay partylist) - committees on ecology; on Metro Manila Development and on Natural Resources.

Unlike the members of the minority, the Independent Bloc is very vocal in the House of Representative in support of the Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 authored by Belmonte, which seeks to amend the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution. (Sunnex)

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