The President maintained that interfering in the work of legislation and the lower ranks is an entirely different scenario.
‘Endorsement is not legislative interference’
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - July 10, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte assured the public yesterday that he has not interfered in the independence of the House of Representatives when he endorsed Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco in a term-sharing leadership of the chamber.

“There seems to be crisis already. Nobody is willing… I am not interfering in the work of legislation. We are just talking about leaders only, there is nothing to do with the independence of the… up to that point it’s all politics,” Duterte said in a chance interview at Malacañang.

The President maintained that interfering in the work of legislation and the lower ranks is an entirely different scenario.

“You are not interfering because they are choosing only the leader. Now, if they begin to work and do their tasks and you interfere, that is the time you can hear the complaints,” he added.

Cayetano’s camp said Duterte’s decision to break the long-running impasse in the House speakership fight is a win-win solution for the fragmented administration coalition.

“The Magellan or 15-21 formula of the President is a win-win for Malacañang, Congress and the Filipino people as it will spell the chamber’s ideal working relationship not only with the Senate but with the executive department as well,” Rep. LRay Villafuerte said.

Villafuerte is an ally of Cayetano, both being stalwarts of the Nacionalista Party. They are also close to the dominant Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party.

The Bicolano lawmaker, now on his second term, said the President’s term sharing formula will set the “stage for the speedy passage of further reforms that Mr. Duterte wants to push in the legislature over the remaining half of his term” until June 2022.

“This leadership arrangement will ensure unity in the chamber among these three main power blocs over the next three years, hence guaranteeing smooth sailing for the priority bills that President Duterte and his economic team want passed soon,” Villafuerte added.

He said “the people will be assured of the timely passage of the further reforms that need to be done to sustain and boost the country’s growth momentum, decisively attack poverty, create more jobs and improve the lives of Filipinos, including those on society’s fringes.”

“Given his over two-decade track record in the executive and legislative branches of government, Cayetano will be able to adeptly steer the House toward better rapport and coordination with both the Senate and Malacañang,” Villafuerte said.

“Cayetano has the leadership skills, legislative experience, competence and gravitas to work on and achieve better coordination between the two legislative chambers and the executive branch,” he stressed.

No separation of powers

But militants claimed that Duterte was motivated by self-preservation.

“The implication of Duterte’s interference is the House leadership’s indebtedness to Malacañang. By choosing the next speaker, Duterte also ensures the passage of Charter change at the House. The House will deliver Cha-cha on a silver platter to Duterte,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Renato Reyes in a statement.

Bayan added that the concept of separate and co-equal branches of government is an illusion under the Duterte administration.

“The House is not an independent body, not when it is the President who chooses who sits as speaker. The lawmakers who accepted the choice of the President also compromised the independence of the House,” Bayan said. – With Delon Porcalla, Rhodina Villanueva

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