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Thursday, June 24, 2021
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Velasco allies call on House super majority to unseat Cayetano

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(UPDATED) Allies of Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco have made a call to assemble, move and vote to declare the position of House of Representatives Speaker vacant on Monday, October 12, 2020.

In a manifesto circulated early Monday morning, 15 lawmakers also called on the 187 members of the solid majority of the House to move and cast their vote for Velasco as the new Speaker.

Rule 3, Section 13 of the Rules of the House of Representatives states, “A vacancy is created whenever any of the officers dies, resigns, or is permanently incapacitated, or when the House declares any office vacant.”

Velasco’s allies convened for a breakfast meeting Monday at the Celebrity Sports Plaza, according to Albay Representative Joey Salceda, one of the 15 lawmakers who signed the manifesto. In an interview over television, Salceda said 167 House members have committed to support Velasco and unseat Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano based on a term-sharing deal on the speakership.

The meeting was held a day ahead of the special session that President Rodrigo Duterte called for under Proclamation No. 1027.

The lower chamber suspended session on October 6, 10 days ahead of its approved schedule for recess, following the termination of debates on the proposed 2021 budget and passage on second reading of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

Duterte issued the directive for a special session on October 9 to ensure that the GAB is approved by Congress and enacted into law before the year ends.

The proposed budget for 2021 will fund programs aimed at supporting the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) epidemic in the country and reversing the economic collapse caused by the pandemic.

The Velasco camp manifesto was signed by the following:

  • Salvador Leachon (Oriental Mindoro), Eric Martinez (Valenzuela), Juan Pablo Bondoc (Pampanga) and Joey Salceda (Albay) for PDP-Laban;
  • Isidro Ungab (Davao City) for Hugpong ng Pagbabago;
  • Jack Duavit (Rizal), Mark Enverga (Quezon) and Wes Gatchalian (Valenzuela) for Nationalist People’s Coalition;
  • Mikee Romero (1-Pacman Partylist) for Party-list Coalition;
  • Jose Lito Atienza Jr. (Buhay Partylist) for the minority;
  • Kristine Singson-Meehan (Ilocos Sur) for Northern Luzon Alliance;
  • Jose Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental) for Visayas bloc;
  • Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City) for Mindanao;
  • Munir Arbison (Sulu) for Nacionalista Party; and
  • Raul del Mar (Cebu City) for Liberal Party.
In their manifesto, the lawmakers said the lower chamber needs a leader “who can inspire, and not discourage colleagues; a leader who can unite, and not divide the House; a leader with a heart of a public servant, and not with the heart of a tyrant; a leader who listens and empowers others, and not just a clique who builds walls to shun others; and a leader who is committed to serving the people rather than serving his self-interest and personal ambition.”

They said the termination of deliberations on House Bill No. 7727, or the General Appropriations Bill, on October 6, “deprived the Filipino people of exercising, through their duly-elected representatives, their right to participate in crafting a national budget that would best serve the country.”

They said they were also “stripped of their legislative duty to scrutinize the spending plan” of 21 executive agencies and offices.

They said the creation of a committee to accept and deliberate on proposed amendments to the budget while the House is on break “effectively railroads and replaces the important budget process which is comprised of sponsorship, debate and amendments.”

“The power of Congress is bastardized when it was divested from the plenary, in each and every individual legislator, and purposely let to be monopolized by a select few,” the manifesto stated.

Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2019, Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first 15 months until October 2020 and Velasco will take over for the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress. (Marites Villamor-Ilano with Jove Moya/SunStar Philippines)

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