Broken agreement
THAT DOES IT - Korina Sanchez (The Freeman) - October 2, 2020 - 12:00am

"Stay out tayo diyan. No comment tayo diyan. That's purely an internal affair of the House of Representatives." This is what President Duterte said on the ongoing dispute between House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velasco based on the turnover agreement brokered by Duterte last year. There has been talk of allied lawmakers not wanting to replace Cayetano as Speaker and just letting him finish off his three-year term.

Velasco disagreed and said the agreement should be respected. So they decided to go back to the Palace and ask for Duterte's opinion and blessing once again just like last year. Like children asking their father who he will side with. At the said meeting, the two allegedly traded barbs about their time in the House, with Cayetano accusing Velasco of doing nothing while the latter wanted to investigate the SEA Games committee for alleged anomalies. Duterte allegedly asked Velasco to move the turnover to December to give time for the House to tackle the budget for next year. Velasco allegedly turned it down so the turnover will supposedly take place on October 14. But their respective birthdays even came into play, both wanting to be Speaker by the time they turn 50. Shallow, petty much? Then there was some drama in the House when Cayetano offered to immediately resign as speaker, but a majority of the legislators voted to reject it.

I think Cayetano only showed Velasco his strong support in the Lower House. It is a numbers game once again. We still have no idea what will transpire on October 14. Cayetano is saying the October 14 agreement is fake news. Cayetano is also predicting Velasco will not win an election for the Speaker of the House. An ally of Cayetano dared those wanting a leadership change to declare the speaker's post vacant. Cayetano adds if Velasco does become speaker, he will not last long and will be ousted via a coup. Wow. Talk about confidence or arrogance. I have no idea just how many allies Velasco has in the House. That number may have changed from last year. This is evidence of just how hard it is to relinquish power.

What is clear is that lawmakers allied with Duterte do ask him for an opinion and guidance. It is very hard to believe the Palace has no opinion nor say on matters of the House. Duterte brokered last year's agreement where the term-sharing of 15-21 months was brought up. I imagine both Cayetano and Velasco shook hands cementing the agreement in a gentleman's fashion. Now that the time has come, the winds have changed and that agreement seems broken. While the bickering goes on, the real work of the House is stalled. One wonders what their priorities are.

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