Duterte meets with House speakership rivals

Marje Pelayo   •   September 30, 2020   •   191

President Rodrigo Duterte in a meeting with speakership rivals, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco at Malacañan Palace.

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte met with speakership rivals, House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco at Malacañang on Tuesday night (September 29).

The two lawmakers were joined by some of their supporters during the meeting.

There were no details revealed as to what transpired in their discussion with the President. 

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President hopes that the two lawmakers will settle the matter regarding their term-sharing agreement.

But the President, Roque said, is leaving the issue to the members of the House of Representatives, noting that the President cannot do anything if Cayetano gets more votes than Velasco. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Cayetano tells Velasco: Honor word on House leadership posts

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano reminded Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to honor his word to retain leadership positions in the House of Representatives after the transition of powers.

In a Facebook live on Wednesday afternoon, Cayetano called on Velasco to fulfill his “word of honor” of not implementing any changes in committee chairmanships and leadership positions in the lower chamber.

“Sabi mo sa akin Palabra de Honor, de Palabra de Honor din sa side niyo dahil malinaw na malinaw na sinabi ng ating Pangulo that he doesn’t want disruptions so walang palitan ng kahit sinong chairmanship at leadership sa Kongreso,” he said.

Cayetano made the remark after Velasco replaced the chairpersons of two House committees, which he said should not be the case under their term-sharing deal.

Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Salvador Leachon was elected as Senior Deputy Speaker, replacing Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte who was named chairman of the accounts committee.

The accounts committee was previously held by Cavite 8th District Representative Abraham Tolentino.

1-Pacman Party-list Representative Michael Romero was elected Deputy Speaker, replacing Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Raymund Villafuerte, who is a close ally of Cayetano.

Quezon Representative Angelina Tan was also named chairman of committee on health, replacing Guimaras Representative Lucille Nava.

Cayetano also claimed that some allies of Velasco are talking congressmen out of their positions, and are even taking their offices.

“There are now some of your people na gustong mang bengga talking to some of our people na magpalit na lang, umalis na lang. Pati Kwarto kinukuha,” he said.

“Let’s not do that, let’s all focus sa budget and as I promised you, kahit tingnan ninyo ‘yung text ko sa ating mga taga-suporta, ‘Please support the new leadership, please get the budget passed,’” he added.

Velasco has yet to comment on Cayetano’s statement.

The term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte himself in 2019. The deal appeared to have been fulfilled when Velasco was elected as speaker in a remote session on Monday.

His election was ratified at the Batasang Pambansa Complex on Tuesday. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Cayetano steps down as House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines ­– Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano has tendered his irrevocable resignation as speaker of the House of Representatives following the election of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

As House lawmakers ratified Velasco’s election to the top post, Cayetano said he is stepping down from the post to avoid any more division and squabble among legislators.

“Verbally, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation as the speaker of the House of the Republic of the Philippines,” Cayetano said on Facebook live.

“At 3 p.m., elect your new speaker and pass the budget… Walang maneuvers at political tactics na mangyayari diyan,” he added.

Cayetano’s move follows President Rodrigo Duterte’s reminder to lawmakers to resolve the speakership issue, and to pass the 2021 national budget on time.

Velasco’s assumption of the chamber’s top post ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war with Cayetano, and enforced the term-sharing agreement between the two rivals that was brokered by the president in 2019.

Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for the first 15 months or until October 2020 while Velasco will take over the position for the remaining 21 months of the term.

Cayetano claimed he decided to give way to Velasco to ensure the passage of the P4.5-trillion General Appropriations Bill.

He said that based on his meetings with Duterte, he understood that he was going to turn over the top post once the budget bill has been approved.

“So Mr. President if I made a mistake, mali ang reading ko, misunderstood ko na gusto mong ituloy at tapusin ko ang budget, ako’y humihingi ng paumanhin. Hindi ko intensyon, never na hindi ka sundin,” he said.

Cayetano also urged Velasco to keep his word to retain the appointed House deputy speakers and committee chairpersons. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

Velasco assumes post as new House Speaker

Robie de Guzman   •   October 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday officially assumed as the new speaker of the House of Representatives, replacing Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano, following his election that enforced his term-sharing agreement with the latter.

Velasco presided over the re-opening of the House session on Tuesday to resume the chamber’s deliberations of the proposed 2021 national budget after it was certified as urgent by President Rodrigo Duterte.

During the session, 186 lawmakers voted to ratify Velasco’s installation as speaker following his election in a remote session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday.

Leaders of political parties and regional blocs also pledged support for the new speaker.

The nominal voting came a few hours before the special session for budget deliberations began in the plenary on Tuesday afternoon.

Presiding over the House proceedings for the first time, Velasco thanked his allies and other lawmakers for their support.

Velasco’s assumption of the chamber’s top post ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war with Cayetano, who tendered his irrevocable resignation as House Speaker in recognition of the former’s election. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Vincent Arboleda)

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