“If Speaker Cayetano sustains his good performance as shown by his high trust and approval ratings in the latest Pulse Asia quarterly report, there would be a groundswell among House members and the public for him to stay on,” Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite said.
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Speakership term sharing may be scuttled — House leaders
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The term-sharing arrangement between Reps. Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros and Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque for the position of speaker of the House of Representatives may soon be scuttled, leaders of the chamber said yesterday.

“If Speaker Cayetano sustains his good performance as shown by his high trust and approval ratings in the latest Pulse Asia quarterly report, there would be a groundswell among House members and the public for him to stay on,” Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite said.

“I am sure he will sustain that performance. There is no reason for him not to. So why change or swap horses in midstream? We might as well retain him as our Speaker for three years until June 30, 2022,” he said.

Under an agreement brokered by President Duterte before the House elected Cayetano last July 22, the Taguig-Pateros congressman and former foreign affairs secretary would hold the post for 15 months, or up to October next year, after which Velasco takes over.

Another House leader, Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman, said it would be difficult to replace the incumbent Speaker if he maintains his good performance and survey showing. 

“With his brand of leadership, we have no reason to doubt that he and the House will continue to win the hearts of Filipinos. Sincerity, industry and loyalty to the people – these are the traits that embody the Speaker’s personality,” he said.

However, he said since the term sharing was brokered by the President, Duterte would have the final say on whether the arrangement would still push through.

“Like before we elected our Speaker in July, most of us congressmen would listen to what the President would suggest on this issue. But I think he would also listen to what we House members collectively will have to say,” he said.

Romero is president of the 54-member Party-list Coalition, the second largest political group in the House after the ruling PDP-Laban.

Barzaga, on the other hand, heads the National Unity Party, the first group to endorse Cayetano for Speaker even before the Duterte-arranged term sharing.

Barzaga said Cayetano’s 64-percent and 62-percent approval and trust ratings in the Pulse Asia survey “are remarkable if we consider the low marks the House received in previous Congresses.”

He said the ratings of his House boss “are the highest ever received by a Speaker.”

Cayetano’s speakership rivals have commended him for his high approval and trust ratings.

Velasco said the Speaker’s survey showing is proof that the public “appreciates what he and members of the House have individually and collectively accomplished in the first two months of the 18th Congress.”

“We are hoping that we will sustain our performance and the people will continue to appreciate it,” he said.

Another speakership opponent, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, said, “We are collectively proud of our leader’s exemplary trust and approval ratings. Truly, nothing warms the heart of public servants more than the appreciation of our constituents.”

He said the positive feedback they received from the public “will definitely prompt all of us in the House to work harder in the days to come.”

ALAN PETER CAYETANO
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