Cayetano said there has been no change in the earlier decision of President Duterte for him to share the speakership post with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco – a compromise reached before the House elected its leaders on July 22 when the 18th Congress convened.
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Cayetano: Term-sharing with Velasco still a go
Edu Punay, Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – There is no truth to speculations that the term-sharing in the House leadership will no longer push through, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Wednesday.

Cayetano said there has been no change in the earlier decision of President Duterte for him to share the speakership post with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco – a compromise reached before the House elected its leaders on July 22 when the 18th Congress convened.

 “There is no reason for anyone to worry because we all agreed to let the President decide (on the speakership issue). He had a decision and so far that decision stands,” Cayetano told reporters.

He was reacting to reports that the term-sharing arrangement with Velasco might no longer push through because of his high trust and approval ratings in both Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations surveys.

‘Cayetano’s fate up to Duterte’

Whether or not Cayetano will stay on as Speaker of the House of Representatives after 15 months will be up to Duterte, according to Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Dasmariñas City in Cavite.

 “It was the President who brokered the term-sharing arrangement. It is he who can say if our current boss in the House will continue as Speaker after serving his share of the three-year speakership,” Barzaga said in a television interview.

Under the arrangement, Cayetano would hold the post for 15 months, after which Velasco takes over.

Upon the President’s suggestion, a third speakership aspirant, Martin Romualdez of Leyte, was chosen majority leader.

Barzaga is president of the National Unity Party, the first political group to endorse Cayetano, a former foreign affairs secretary, for the top House post. He chairs the House committee on environment and natural resources.

Barzaga said as far as the NUP is concerned, the party would want Cayetano to serve the Speaker’s full three-year term.

“His high approval and trust ratings in recent surveys prove that we in NUP, together with our colleagues belonging to other political parties, made the right decision to support him as our leader in the House,” he said.

He said Cayetano’s 64 percent and 62 percent approval and trust ratings in the Pulse Asia survey “are remarkable and are the highest ever received by a Speaker.”

Barzaga added that a majority of House members “like our Speaker, who has been fair to all of us.”

Cayetano’s speakership rivals have commended him for his high survey 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.

For his part, Romualdez, said, “We are 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.” 

Asked about Barzaga’s statement that Cayetano might stay on Speaker after 15 months, a Velasco supporter said, “That is a possibility we are prepared to accept.”

“There was a realization when Alan Peter was elected on July 22 that Lord (Velasco) may not be able to serve as Speaker at all,” the lawmaker, who refused to be named, said.

Another House member, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, lauded Cayetano for posting high survey ratings.

Cayetano thanked his colleagues in the lower chamber for supporting his leadership, but urged them to instead focus on their work of passing measures for the benefit of the people.

 

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