Most solons favor Cayetano as House speaker â lawmaker
File photo shows Rep. Luis Ramond Villafuerte Jr (Camarines Sur 2nd District).
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo
Most solons favor Cayetano as House speaker — lawmaker
Franco Luna ( - September 22, 2020 - 11:32am

MANILA, Philippines — With the turnover of House speakership looming, the majority of House lawmakers supposedly favor House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano over Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) due to the latter's lack of a presence in the chamber, a solon said Tuesday. 

Speaking in an interview over ANC's "Hot Copy," Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte (Camarines Sur 2nd District) pointed out that whether or not House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's term-sharing deal with Velasco will push through in November is still up to President Rodrigo Duterte, who originally brokered the deal, to begin with.

RELATED: Lawmakers clash over budget as speakership change nears

"I think concerns about leadership are secondary at this point; the main concerns now are with the budget. No reason for lawmakers to complain at this point because budget deliberations have just started," he said. 

"If you would ask congressmen now, the majority of them would want Cayetano to continue...[Velasco] should have been active and partnered with the Speaker in working in Congress. I haven’t seen or heard Cong. Lord be active in any major issue. We don’t see him in Congress. It was really his choice not to be the presumptive Speaker," he also said.

Under the agreement, Cayetano is slated to turn over leadership of the House 15 months into his term to Velasco, who will preside over the lower chamber for the next 21 months.

Earlier this weekend, Rep. Paolo Duterte, House deputy speaker, admitted to sending a message threatening to call for the removal of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from his post after a number of lawmakers allegedly hinted at possible misgivings with the leadership of Cayetano, a close ally and former running mate of no less than President Duterte. 

READ: Change in House leadership likely won't push through, Paolo Duterte ally says

The lower chamber's internal squabbles center around the budget allocations for their respective districts as the House Committee on Appropriation's deliberates the P4.5-trillion National Expenditure Program for 2021, the basis for the national budget bill. 

Speaking about the budget issue, though, Villafuerte said: "People first, politics later."

"The president is the leader of the coalition, so whatever he says [about term-sharing deal], we will follow," Villafuerte also said. 

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