MANILA

Budget talks preventing lawmakers from backing Velasco, says Teves

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WERE it not for the deliberations on the P4.506-trillion budget bill, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco would have gained more supporters among the members of the House of Representatives, a lawmaker said.

Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnulfo Teves, in an interview over television, said Velasco still has enough supporters to catapult him to the highest position at the House.

"I think so. Yung iba nga doon, naipit lang eh," Teves said in a televised interview.

"Marami ang natatakot na baka mawalan sila ng budget. Nasubukan ko na rin 'yon, na mawalan ng budget,” he added.

(Many lawmakers are afraid of losing their budget. I’ve experienced losing my budget.)

Teves said the September 30 proceedings that rejected Cayetano’s offer to resign were railroaded.

He claimed that he was muted when he tried to raise a point of order. In a video that Teves posted on social media, he could be seen trying to raise a point of order.

"I am raising a point of order and they are muting me. I cannot unmute myself. This is a railroaded proceeding," Teves said in the video.

He asked Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to honor his term-sharing deal with Velasco.

"Gentleman’s agreement is a gentleman’s agreement, kung hindi siya mag-resign, pananagutan niya kay Presidente at malaman ng tao kung ano yung totoong pagkatao niya dahil dun naman makikita na nakipag-agreement ka, hindi mo tinupad,” he said.

Meanwhile, Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza said Velasco may have around 154 supporters, including 54 from the Party-List Coalition Foundation Inc. (PCFI).

Cayetano, on October 2, removed PCFI representative Michael Romero as House deputy speaker and replaced him with Capiz 2nd District Representative Fredenil Castro.

Atienza also said the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), which has 35 members will also support Velasco’s bid for the Speakership.

"All he (Velasco) has to do now is to call the smaller groups,” Atienza said.

Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte, Cayetano has until September 30 to serve as Speaker. Velasco will take over for the remainder of the 18th Congress.

During the September 29 meeting with Duterte, Cayetano had agreed to step down on October 14.

Cayetano, in lambasting Velasco during his September 30 privilege speech, predicted that Velasco will not win as Speaker. But if he does win, he will be ousted within a week, Cayetano added. (SunStar Philippines)


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