Velasco invokes word of honor; Duterte steps into row
“Let us uphold the agreement as this was made ‘for God and our country 1521.’ I have always intended to honor the agreement. The covenant was crystal clear: a 15-21 term-sharing agreement,” said Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Lord Allan Jay Velasco/Facebook
Velasco invokes word of honor; Duterte steps into row
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - September 29, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Speaker-in-waiting Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco yesterday took a dig at incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, challenging him to show his word of honor that he will indeed step down next month based on their term-sharing agreement brokered by President Duterte in July 2019.

“Let us uphold the agreement as this was made ‘for God and our country 1521.’ I have always intended to honor the agreement. The covenant was crystal clear: a 15-21 term-sharing agreement,” said Velasco.

Meanwhile, Duterte has called both Cayetano and Velasco to a meeting at Malacañang today to sort things out in the House leadership row.

In a post in both his Facebook and Instagram accounts, Velasco, also chairman of the House energy committee, recalled that Cayetano’s term expires on Sept. 30, after which the second term immediately begins.

“That was the pledge made before the President,” the supposed incoming House leader reiterated. “Trust and honor are values that are important, especially in these trying times. They reveal our true character and show what we, as leaders, are truly made of,” Velasco said.

“It was an agreement brokered by and forged in the presence of no less than President Duterte,” he said.

Velasco urged Cayetano to be gentleman enough to make true his promise, as the agreement “was based on mutual trust and confidence.”

“It is in this period of difficulty that our people yearn for honorable leaders whom they can trust – leaders who are able to live up to their promises come hell or high water, leaders with palabra de honor (word of honor) who lead not with lip service, but who back up their words with action,” Velasco added.

“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 the trust of our people who’ve stood witness to the covenant,” he said.

Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, an ally of Cayetano, defended the Speaker, saying “Velasco lost the speakership because of his failure to prove to his peers his capability to lead as Speaker of the House. “A Speaker should have a strong voice, a Speaker should have a principled stand on major issues, which clearly congressman Velasco does not have. You cannot lead the House by being silent,” the Camarines Sur congressman stressed.

“Velasco only wants the position of Speaker but not the responsibility that goes with it. And lastly, despite the announcement of the term-sharing deal, he should not have assumed the support of the majority, he still had to earn it, which unfortunately he did not,” he said.

“He lost by default because of his own fault and actions,” Villafuerte maintained.

Duterte’s meeting with Cayetano and Velasco comes as Congress started plenary deliberations yesterday on the proposed P4.506- trillion 2021 budget.

The President reportedly would rather have Cayetano stay as Speaker until December when the proposed 2021 budget is passed.

As much as possible, the President would want a smooth passage of the budget and without hitches even with the bicameral proceedings.

The problem with installing a new Speaker would reportedly mean a delay in the passage of the proposed national budget since it would also entail the coming in of new congressional personnel and staff. – Edith Regalado

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