Cayetano offers to resign as House Speaker, lawmakers immediately move to reject

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020   •   225

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

MANILA, Philippines — In a sudden decision, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday (September 30) offered his resignation but the Lower House immediately moved to reject it.

“I will not be a party to letting the President down. So I’m offering my resignation, here and now, to you my dear colleagues. My fate and the fate of the 2021 budget, and the fate of the leadership of the House is in your hands,” Cayetano said.

“Please don’t vote on party lines. Don’t accept or deny because of positions or what the President may say or what I might think. Bumoto kayo sa akin or hindi, [You vote for me or not], you are my friends my colleagues,” he added.

Cayetano’s announcement comes a day after President Rodrigo Duterte met with him and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco Tuesday evening (September 29) and intervened to settle the tension between them over the House speakership term-sharing agreement they had last year.

Prior to Cayetano’s resignation, reports came out that Velasco will take over the position beginning October 14, allegedly based on what transpired at Tuesday’s meeting.

In his speech, Cayetano said the President asked Velasco to delay his takeover until December in consideration of the ongoing deliberations on the 2021 national budget — but Velasco, Cayetano said, did not heed the plea.

Under the term-sharing agreement discussed in June 2019, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker in the first 15 months while Velasco would succeed to serve for the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress.

Cayetano is supposed to relinquish the position to Velasco in October.

Following his announcement, the members of the House moved for nominal voting to formally reject his offer of resignation.

One hundred eighty-four (184) lawmakers voted to turn down the resignation, one accepted and nine abstained from voting. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Velasco elected as new House Speaker, Cayetano calls out ‘fake session’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 12, 2020

With 186 votes, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco has been elected as the new House Speaker.

During a session held on Monday (October 12) at a sports club in Quezon City, Velasco immediately took oath after receiving the majority of votes.

“Today’s events would ensure that the President’s call for a timely, legal and constitutional approval of the 2021 budget will be complied with,” he said.

However, Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano slammed the said election saying it was unconstitutional since it was held outside the session hall.

“The last time I checked, ang Celebrity Sports Club ay hindi Kongreso ( Celebrity Sports Club is not Congress),” he said. “It creates a very very disturbing precedent.”

Cayetano suspended the session on October 6. It is expected to resume on Tuesday after Duterte called for a special session of Congress from Oct. 13-16 to hasten the approval of the proposed 2021 national budget.

Malacañang, meanwhile, reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to set aside politics for the passage of the proposed 2021 National Budget. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano heeds President’s ‘stern warning’, vows to send budget to Senate on Nov. 5

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 9, 2020

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has acknowledged President Rodrigo Duterte’s “stern warning” over the speakership row.

“We welcome the President’s stern warning to all parties to stop all the politicking as it could jeopardize the welfare of our fellow citizens at this critical time,” Cayetano posted on social media.

Cayetano apologized to the President and the public and announced they will submit the printed proposed budget to the Senate on November 5. He also reiterated that the House will not sacrifice the budget in this critical time, for political expediency.

“As a matter of detail, we will submit the printed budget to the Senate on November 5, allowing them to proceed with their hearings, and preparing the way for the formal transmittal on November 16, immediately after Congress votes and approves on third reading the 2021 General Appropriations Bill,” he said.

On Thursday night (October 8), President Rordigo Duterte addressed the nation appealing to the House to resolve the issue between Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

The President pointed out, lawmakers need to face more important issues and serve the people especially amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Huwag ninyong sobrahan ang laro sa Congress, na iyong budget mismo ang nalagay sa alanganin. I’m just appealing, gusto ko lang sabihin in one straight statement, either you resolve the issue sa impasse ninyo diyan at pass the budget legally and constitutionally. Kapag hindi ninyo ginawa, ako ang gagawa para sa inyo, he said during his address.

Cayetano assured the public that they are also concerned about the welfare of the people and will do their part to aid the citizens through processing the proposed national budget.

“We believe we can help everyone by delivering fully budgeted programs that are responsive to the needs of our fellow citizens as we rebuild the nation from this public health and economic crisis,” he said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Party-list lawmakers question change of deputy speaker amid House speakership row

Marje Pelayo   •   October 5, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Some 54 congressmen in the House of Representatives expressed dismay over the recent ouster of 1-Pacman Rep. Michael Romero as deputy speaker last Friday (October 2).

The partylist lawmakers questioned the removal of Romero sans proper voting and without their presence.

Paano siya napatalsik gayong wala namang botohang naganap? Anong klaseng procedure yun (How was he ousted when there wasn’t any voting that happened? What kind of procedure is that)?” the Party-list Coalition said in a statement.

Romero is a known ally of Marinduque Rep. Allan Jay Velasco. 

He was replaced by Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro who is a known ally of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano. 

Party-list congressmen are representatives of various sectors in the country with groups comprising millions of members. 

The coalition stressed the importance of a deputy speaker position that is occupied by their sector as it reflects balance in power and for their voices to be heard.

A deputy speaker is supposed to help the speaker of the House manage issues concerning the Lower House. 

He may also preside during sessions in the absence of the speaker.

Meanwhile, Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. argued that the lawmakers’ move to reject the offer of Speaker Cayetano to resign last week was invalid. 

“In parliamentary procedure, when you raise a point of order you should be recognized. Bakit hindi nila ako nirecgonize (Why didn’t they recognize me)? So it means [the proceedings was] null and void,” Teves said.

He showed a video of him about to make a motion during Tuesday’s voting but he was not recognized and was muted instead.

He also questioned the accuracy of the votes which resulted in 184 voting to reject Cayetano’s resignation, one accepting the offer, and nine abstaining from voting.

Sa totoo lang, hindi kapanipaniwala ang 184 to 1. Sana kung nag-doktor sila ng numero inayos naman sana nila. So ibig sabihin si Cong (Velasco) lang bumoto sa sarili niya? si (Rep.) Leachon, hindi?” Teves argued.

( Translation: To be honest, the 184 to 1 result is implausible. If they were going to rig the numbers, they should’ve done it properly. So, does that mean only Cong. Velasco voted for himself? And Rep. Leachon did not?)

Meanwhile, Velasco is hoping Cayetano will vacate the speakership position on October 14 to honor their agreement. It is also the date when the national budget is expected to pass. 

But according to Anakalusugan Partylist Rep, Mike Defensor, Cayetano will not resign and it is up to the camp of Velasco to make a motion to vacate the speakership position so that the lawmakers can vote between Velasco and Cayetano. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

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