Velasco reminds House colleagues of 'crystal clear' agreement on speakership
In this file photo from July 2017, Duterte gives his State of the Nation Address at the Batasan Pambansa complex in Quezon City.
Velasco reminds House colleagues of 'crystal clear' agreement on speakership
( - September 28, 2020 - 3:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The term-sharing agreement for the House speakership must be upheld, Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) urged his colleagues, saying the deal between him and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano was made “for God and our country.”

Velasco made the remark amid yet another power struggle at the House of Representatives.

In a Facebook post, Velasco said the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2019 was “based on mutual trust and confidence.”

Under the term-sharing deal, Cayetano will serve as speaker for the first 15 months, which will end by October 2020, if followed. Velasco will then take over the post for 21 months or until June 2022.

"The covenant was crystal clear: a 15-21 term-sharing agreement. The first term expires on Sept. 30, after which the second term immediately begins. That was the pledge made before the president," the solon from Marinduque said.

"As true leaders and as examples for our people, both sides are obligated to avoid situations or statements that would subvert the agreement and betray trust of our people who’ve stood witness to the covenant," he added.

Velasco said he has always intended to honor the deal and the camp of Cayetano should do the same.

In an earlier statement, Velasco denied the claim that he is not fit to lead because he has not been active during the major issues that House members faced.

Duterte is hopeful the term-sharing agreement will be followed but said he cannot do anything if Velasco lacks support of lawmakers, his spokesperson Harry Roque earlier said.

The majority and minority blocs of the lower chamber threw their support behind Cayetano’s continued speakership by signing manifestos. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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