The camps of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Allan Velasco (Marinduque) made contradicting statements on the ongoing speakership row following their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte.
Cayetano and Velasco are under a “gentleman’s agreement” that Duterte brokered to them last year wherein the former has to step down in October after leading the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.
Amid the looming change in House leadership, both parties met with the chief executive last Tuesday night, September 29 to discuss the matter. Photos of the event were shared by long-time presidential aide and Sen. Bong Go.
Reports stated that Duterte did not provide a clear decision on their discord.
The next day, during the House session on September 30, Cayetano suddenly offered his position to Velasco and announced his resignation during his privilege speech.
“Cong. Velasco told the President that he is ready. Then I think the best time to prove it is now. Gusto mo ng September 30? Sige. If colleagues want you today, sige, ikaw na,” Cayetano said.
“I am offering my resignation here and now, to you my dear colleagues. My fate and the fate of the 2021 budget and leadership of the House is in your hands,” he added.
The plenary immediately moved to reject his resignation.
On the same day prior to offering to quit his post, Cayetano posted a quote card with the biblical verse Proverbs 3:3 – 4, which states:
“With God, we shall do valiantly; it is He who will tread down our foes.”
On Monday, Velasco also expressed hope that Cayetano’s camp will honor the term-sharing agreement.
“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. 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.
Trust and honor are values that are important, especially in these trying times. They reveal our true character and show…
What transpired during the speakership meeting, according to solons
Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon (Oriental Mindoro 1st District), also a vocal supporter and PDP-Laban partymate of Cayetano, in an interview with ANC said that the leadership change will take place on October 14.
“It was the agreement and it was enforced during the time they were discussing among the 3 of them. The question was only as to when, but both parties agreed before the President on Oct. 14,” Leachon said.
However, Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte (Camarines Sur) countered this remark and claimed that the change in leadership was not clear during their meeting.
Villafuerte also noted that the Speakership role has to be voted by the House members.
“How can you be the new Speaker? You still have to be voted upon. Ang nangyari, wala pang 2 minutes, may bagong Speaker na, and then nagkaroon na ng date, October 14. I was there, wala namang sinabi ang Presidente na October 14,” he said.
Villafuerte also disproved claims from Cayetano’s camp that a squabble took place during their discussion.
“That’s a total lie. Sobrang kasinungalingan yan. Sana ilabas yung footage,” he said.
Last week, Rep. Paolo Duterte (Davao City, 1st district) suddenly entered the alleged House shakeup after he sent a Viber message that requested “to declare the seat of Speaker and Deputy Speakers vacant” due to disagreements with the representatives’ budget allocations.
Days later, Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS party-list) uploaded photos of him with the presidential son, Cayetano and his wife Rep. Lani Cayetano (Second District, Taguig) and House Secretary-General Brian Yamsuan.
Public’s thoughts on the speakership saga
In line with Cayetano’s sudden resignation, his name and Velasco’s immediately trended on Twitter.
Several Filipinos criticized the Taguig congressman’s gesture a mere dramatic show before the plenary.
Now showing: Alan Peter Cayetano’s Meltdown
— Ryan (@rryyyaaaannnn) September 30, 2020
#Cayetano Drama King should have auditioned at ABS-CBN, but he gutted it out.
So, spare us the theatrics and go lick your wounds somewhere dark and dreary.
— Jeane Peracullo (@JeanePeracullo) September 30, 2020
Columnist Manuel L. Quezon III described it as a “vote of confidence.”
“This is what is otherwise known as a vote of confidence: you only offer to quit if you know your resignation will be resoundingly rejected,” Quezon said.
“Interesting if it ends up so, despite Palace nod for Velasco: either it’s Arroyo speakership style or Velasco was played for a fool by president,” he added.
Under the House rules, there is no provision stating a procedure for the rejection of the resignation of any of its leaders.
The next proper move, according to Section 13 of the House rules, is for Deputy Speakers to elect among themselves an acting speaker until a new speaker is chosen.
Instead, the plenary is voting to approve or reject Speaker Cayetano's resignation
— Xave Gregorio (@XaveGregorio) September 30, 2020
As of writing, the lower chamber suspended its session with a conclusion to deny Cayetano’s resignation backed by 184 votes. Only one lawmaker is in favor of the resignation while there were nine abstentions recorded.
The House is se to resume its session on Friday morning.