'Theatrics': Velasco blasts Cayetano's 'personal agenda' in House Speakership row

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2020 11:52 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2020 06:16 PM

MANILA - Marinduque District Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco on Wednesday reminded Taguig-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano anew to leave the speakership post on Oct. 14 as part of their term-sharing deal forged last year.

In a Facebook post, Velasco urged Cayetano to honor a "gentleman's agreement," saying the latter reportedly promised to resign after 15 months at the chamber's helm.

"To Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, it was only last night when you promised to resign on Oct. 14 when the President ordered you to honor the term-sharing agreement," he said in a statement, after President Rodrigo Duterte called them Tuesday amid squabble in the administration-controlled lower House.

"The President entrusted you with the task of announcing the date of the turnover. October 14 was chosen as the date for the turnover because we committed to pass the budget before Oct. 14 and do nothing else that would disrupt or derail the process," he added.

Under the term-sharing deal that Duterte brokered last year, Cayetano will lead the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or until October, while Velasco will take over the reins for the next 21 months. 

Cayetano on Wednesday took to the chamber's rostrum to offer his resignation but was swiftly rejected by lawmakers.

In his privilege speech, the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker also questioned Velasco's competency to lead the 305-member House of Representatives.

Velasco hit back at Cayetano for "further political maneuverings and theatrics," which only led to suspension of budget deliberation.

"We lost an entire day, and even tomorrow where you have declared that no session will be conducted, which are crucial in meeting our timeline," he said.

"These attacks and distractions serve no purpose other than to perpetuate what is a purely personal agenda threatening to delay the passage of the budget. This is the truth."

Despite the tug of war over the speakership, the Marinduque lawmaker urged his colleagues to continue their work and pass the budget before Oct. 14

He also assured them he would be a "gracious leader" who would listen and take action on their concerns.

"But I make an earnest plea: Let us uphold the dignity of the House of Representatives by being men and women who believe in “Palabra de Honor” in keeping our word and upholding the term-sharing agreement Speaker Cayetano and I swore to honor and respect," Velasco said.