Fetalvero: Gentlemen’s agreement

Two Empty Bottles

“ALL is well that ends well.”

It is an old adage but still applicable in these modern times. Can we expect a more peaceful deliberation of the 2021 national budget now that our legislators have set aside political maneuverings?

The division in Congress could have been avoided had Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano honored the gentlemen’s agreement of term-sharing. The agreement was written but there was no mention whether both parties shook hands to seal the deal?

One of the earliest depictions of a handshake is found in the ninth century relief which shows the Assyrian king Shalmanesser III pressing the flesh with a Babylonian ruler to seal an alliance. The epic poet Homer described the handshake several times in his “Iliad” and “Odyssey,” most often in relation to pledges and displays of trust.

One popular theory is that the gesture began as a way of conveying peaceful intentions. Yet, another explanation is that the handshake was a symbol of good faith when making an oath or a promise. When they clasped hands, people showed that their word was a sacred bond. In ancient Rome, the handshake was often used as a symbol of friendship and loyalty.

A gentlemen’s agreement, according to, is a mutually acceptable arrangement and agreement to trust each other to fulfill the terms.

F. William Grosheide, professor of private law and intellectual property law in Amsterdam, Netherlands, was quoted: “A gentlemen’s agreement is an agreement which is not enforceable at law and binding only as a matter of honor. The good faith notion in civil law jurisprudence as well as equitable doctrines in common law as applied to contracts can be considered as referring to honesty not honorable conduct under certain circumstances. So it may be said that honor has a modest place in the law’s empire. The static aspect of honor which apparently is acknowledged by the law.”

After my research, I deduced that the key words to what defines a “gentlemen’s agreement,” when accompanied and sealed with a handshake, are trust, honesty, good faith, loyalty, sacred bond and word of honor.

Last July 2019, Representatives Cayetano and Lord Alan Velasco, in the presence of President Rodrigo Duterte, signed what may be considered a gentlemen’s agreement for term-sharing as speaker of the House of Representatives. Cayetano for 15 months. Velasco for 21 months. The turn of events happened when Cayetano refused to step down and turn over the speakership to Velasco.


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