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Velasco camp to declare speakership vacant if Cayetano does not resign on October 14 – lawmaker

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Velasco camp to declare speakership vacant if Cayetano does not resign on October 14 â lawmaker
Ayon kay Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, ito ang napagkasunduan na petsa ng pagpapalit ng liderato ng Kamara sa ginanap na pagpupulong nila kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte noong Martes ng gabi.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) will be declaring the speakership vacant if Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig-Pateros) does not step down from his post come October 14, a lawmaker allied with the Marinduque congressman said Friday.

October 14 is the supposed end date of the first half of the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Cayetano brokered by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte in 2019 which should see the incumbent speaker step down after 15 months in office, followed by the Marinduque lawmaker who would sit for 21 months at the helm of the House.

“They will pursue the 15-21 agreement and then declare the position vacant and then we’ll see how each and every congressman will decide,” Deputy Speaker Sharon Garin (AAMBIS-OWA) told ANC’s Headstart.

Garin insisted that the term-sharing deal should still push through, despite Cayetano urging on Thursday for everyone to move on from the issue as Duterte kept his hands off House affairs after 184 congressmen voted to reject the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker’s resignation from the top post in the chamber.

“The president said already, ‘Pass the budget, follow the 15-21.’ If you do not follow that — unless he retracts his opinion — then you are defying the president and you are gambling the sake of the Congress as an institution,” she said.

Malacañang, however, reiterated that Duterte is letting the House pick its leader, maintaining that the chief executive will no longer dip his hands into the speakership row.

“He can only remind the two leaders of what was agreed upon. But in the end, he recognizes it is not the president’s call who to elect as speaker,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque told CNN Philippines’ The Source on Friday.

Roque added that Duterte will not be able to do anything if Velasco does not have the numbers to snag the speakership.

Cayetano said Wednesday in a privilege speech that he committed to resign on October 14 to give way to Velasco, but predicted that the Marinduque lawmaker would not get enough votes to lead the House or even in the event that he does, he will get ousted from the speakership in a week because there are supposedly more popular lawmakers than him.

Responding to Cayetano’s speech, Velasco pleaded to colleagues in a Facebook post to “uphold the dignity of the House” and uphold the term-sharing deal between him and the speaker. He also accused Cayetano of holding the passage of the budget hostage through his “political maneuverings and theatrics.”

ALAN PETER CAYETANO

LORD ALLAN VELASCO

SHARON GARIN

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