Cayetano says critics using budget, ABS-CBN franchise issues to oust him

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2020 05:50 PM | Updated as of Feb 25 2020 06:27 PM

Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano takes his oath as House Speaker of the 18th Congress at the House of Representatives on July 22, 2019. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday said his critics are using issues on the national budget and the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise to oust him from the speakership.

“The moment na ayaw na ‘ko nung majority ng mga kongresista, aalis ako," he told reporters.

(The moment that the majority of lawmakers do not want me anymore, I will leave.)

"Marami kaming namo-monitor na issues: una, sa budget; ngayon naman, sa ABS na ginagamit para sabihin na time na umalis ako.”

(We've been monitoring many issues - first, the budget and now, the ABS-CBN franchise - to express that it's time for me to go.)

Cayetano, who is set to step down after 15 months of serving as House Speaker in a term-sharing deal struck with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, was referring to Sen. Panfilo Lacson's allegations of budget insertions in this year's national expenditure plan.

The House Speaker stressed he won’t be pressured into conducting hearings for the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, which has 11 pending bills in the House. 

"This is how I know to do my job. Hindi ako marunong na bara-bara. Ayoko na ‘pag na-pressure ng media, maghi-hearing na kaagad," he said.

(I don't like it that when you're pressured by media, you'll conduct a hearing immediately.)

"So, I’ve explained a million times why it’s important to have orderly, fair hearings. Kung kayang tanggapin ‘to ng majority ng mga kongresista, thank you. Kung hindi, then it’s time to choose a new leader and bahala na kayo. No problem.”

(If majority of lawmakers can accept this, thank you. If they can't, then it’s time to choose a new leader and it's up to them.)

Cayetano has criticized the Senate’s probe for supposedly being unconstitutional, vowing better and fair proceedings when the time comes for the House to hear the ABS-CBN franchise. 

The House Committee on Legislative Franchises on Monday began accepting position papers on the franchise of ABS-CBN.