HOUSE Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo “Rudy” Fariñas will take over the chairmanship of the House committee on constitutional amendments following the near-fistfight between two Mindanao congressmen.
But Fariñas was quick to clarify that the agreement for him to take control of the panel chaired by Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, who wants to keep his post as House Deputy Majority Leader where he will be an ex-officio member of all standing and special committees, has been reached even before Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert “Ace” Barbers and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay almost came to blows following heated arguments last Wednesday.
“Nakipag-usap s’ya (Mercado) sa akin that he would rather keep the Deputy Majority position and give up the constitutional amendments [committee], so nag-usap kami ni Speaker and we decided na ako eventually will take over as chair of the constitutional amendments kasi nga malaking bagay ito para pag napag-usapan ’yan, ako na ang magde-defend sa floor kasi malaki ’yan,” Fariñas told reporters in an ambush interview, admitting that Mercado accepted the chairmanship of the committee hesitantly.
At the same time, Fariñas said the House leadership will attempt to find a “happy ending” to the near fistfight involving Barbers and Pichay.
“I will ask them what happened and perhaps they can have a happy ending about it,” said Fariñas, recalling that, he, Barbers, Pichay, Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez and President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte were all members of the 11th Congress (1998-2001).
Barbers thanked Fariñas and Alvarez for their understanding, reiterating his apology to the public and House committee on constitutional amendments about his wrong behavior.
“I submit to the guidance of our Speaker and House Majority Leader for a peaceful resolution of that embarrassing incident yesterday. I am man enough to admit my mistakes and in fact apologized publicly and to the honorable members of the committee and the House if my actions are uncalled for and an affront to the institution, I am again sorry,” said Barbers in an interview.
During the House committee on constitutional amendments hearing last Thursday, Barbers and Pichay almost came to blows following heated arguments on proposed shift from presidential-unitary form of government to a parliamentary-federal system.