REPRESENTATIVE Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday, September 30, 2020, offered to resign as House of Representatives Speaker to honor the term-sharing deal, but his colleagues immediately rejected this.
Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor turned Cayetano’s offer into a motion that required voting.
Voting 184-1 with nine abstentions, the House rejected Cayetano’s offer.
In a privilege speech a day after their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Cayetano insisted that he was willing to honor the term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
But he said he could not guarantee that Velasco, who is supposed to take over as Speaker for the next 21 months under the 18th Congress, will get the majority votes from the members of the House.
He said either Velasco will not get the votes needed to install him as Speaker or he will immediately get ousted if elected.
“Under the Constitution, you need the majority of all members to be elected Speaker. So I can step aside. But I cannot guarantee he will be elected,” Cayetano said in a privilege speech Wednesday.
“In fact, I would make a fearless forecast. Hindi s’ya mananalo. Or, if I step aside, mananalo s’ya (but) after one week, maco-coup d’etat s’ya. Bakit? Maraming popular sa Kongreso.
He criticized the camp of Velasco for allegedly sending fake messages regarding their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night, September 29.
“The President clearly instructed [me] and Cong. Velasco, and to quote, ‘Alan, ikaw na bahala sa office mo na mag-make ng announcement’ pero as usual, hindi marunong tumupad sa usapan si Congressman Velasco,” Cayetano said.
“Nasa kotse pa lang ako, hindi ko pa nakakausap ang mga mahal ko sa buhay, nag-text brigade agad na may halong fake news si Congressman Velasco,” he added.
Cayetano said he was saddened that Congress is focused on the House leadership amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
“We look upon the government to do good and prevent evil. People are already suffering. Nalulungkot ako na imbes nakatutok tayo na sumunod sa usapan na Nobyembre ang palitan ng speakership sa ilang araw na nakalipas nakatutok po sa usapin ng speakership,” Cayetano said.
“I have always made it clear that I would abide by the wisdom of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. The meeting last night was not only about the speakership, but also about matters of great national importance,” he added.
The incumbent Speaker also revealed that Duterte repeatedly asked Velasco to move the term-sharing deal to December to give way for the House’s discussions on the 2021 budget bill.
Cayetano said the final verdict lies in the hands of their colleagues in the House.
“I will honor the agreement. Tignan niyo lahat ng interviews ko, never ko sinabi na hindi ko i-ho-honor. Ang salita ko lagi ay kung ano sabihin ng Presidente, susundin ko,” he said.
“Sabi ko, Congressman Velasco, ganito na lang: work with me, ako na ang bahala. Three months, ligawan mo, win the hearts and minds of people,” Cayetano added.
Under Section 13 of the House rules, leadership posts in the lower chamber are considered vacant when an officer “dies, resigns, or is permanently incapacitated, or when the House declares any office vacant.”
This will allow the Deputy Speakers to elect among themselves an acting Speaker until a new Speaker is chosen.
Instead of following the rules, the plenary voted to approve or reject Cayetano's resignation. (Jove Moya/SunStar Philippines)