MARINDUQUE Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Monday, September 28, 2020, urged House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to uphold their term-sharing agreement.
Under the gentlemen’s agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte, Velasco said Cayetano’s term as House of Representatives Speaker is supposed to end on September 30, 2020.
Velasco is then supposed to take over for the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress beginning October 2020.
“The covenant was crystal clear: a 15-21 term-sharing agreement. The first term expires on Sept 30, after which the second term immediately begins. That was the pledge made before the President,” Velasco stated in a Facebook post, which included photos taken during the signing of the agreement in July 2019.
“As true leaders and as examples for our people, both sides are obligated to avoid situations or statements that would subvert the agreement and betray the trust of our people who’ve stood witness to the covenant,” Velasco added.
Cayetano has, however, shown no indication of stepping down and his allies have been expressing support for him and opposing moves to change the House leadership.
On Sunday, September 27, photos of Cayetano and wife Lani visiting Presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte in Davao City were posted on social media by ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap.
Duterte earlier threatened to declare as vacant the positions of House Speaker and deputy speaker.
A manifesto has also been signed by 26 House members who want Cayetano to remain as House Speaker.
The manifesto was signed by House Minority Leaders Martin Romualdez, Bienvenido Abante Jr., Deputy Speakers Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Johnny Ty Pimentel, Luis Raymund “LRay” Villueferte, Rode Marie Arenas, Deogracias Savellano, Pablo John Garcia, Henry Oaminal, Ferdinand Hernandez, Robert Puno, Raneo Abu, Neptali Gonzales II, Rodante Marcoleta, Dan Hernandez, and Vilma Santos-Recto.
Other signatories were NUP president Elpidio Barzaga Jr., Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor, Deputy Minority Leader Juan Miguel Macapagal-Arroyo, Deputy Minority Leader Jose Christopher Belmonte, Assistant Minority Leader Stella Quimbo, Prospero Pichay Jr., Southern Luzon Alliance president Elenta Ermita-Buhain, House committee on Visayas development chairman Vincent Frasco, House committee on dangerous drugs chairman Robert Barbers, and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Janette Garin.
They said that it is not the time to replace the House Speaker as the lower chamber is still deliberating on the proposed national budget for 2021.
“The commitment to pass a pro-people budget for 2021 follows the vision of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, whose guidance of the House for the past 13 months has been invaluable in the passage of numerous landmark bills,” they added.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said the President will not interfere this time.
“Ang sabi po niya, to quote talaga is 'Kung walang numero si Lord Allan, wala siyang magagawa,'" said Roque. (Jove Moya/SunStar Philippines)