House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano traded barbs with Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) anew, this time, on Facebook amid the looming change of House leadership.
Cayetano took offense at Velasco’s allegations over unfair budget allocations among House members under his leadership.
Both lawmakers are under a term-sharing or “gentleman’s agreement” that President Rodrigo Duterte brokered last year wherein Cayetano was supposed to step down this month after leading the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.
Tensions ran high after both camps met with the president on the night of September 29.
The lower chamber voted to deny Cayetano’s resignation backed by 184 votes and suspended its session. Only one lawmaker is in favor of the resignation while there were nine abstentions recorded.
Duterte, meanwhile, was not reported to have provided a clear decision on their discord even as he initiating the deal in the first place.
What Cayetano said
In a streamed video on October 5, Cayetano claimed he offered Velasco a new designation “senior deputy speaker”—an idea he previously brought up with Duterte.
Posted by Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, October 5, 2020
“Niyaya ko si Congressman Velasco be the senior deputy speaker. Walang position na ganon but we will create one para you will be the understudy,” he said.
“Para mapalapit ka na sa mga kongresista, yung mga values na gusto ko sa Congress, no corruption, no parking, no pork barrel, walang holdup-an at hindi pedeng gamitin ang posisyon para sa illegal na mga negosyo,” he added.
With this gesture, Cayetano and Velasco would finish off the 2021 national budget together by December. In the process, the latter would also earn the support of the rest of the House members.
Cayetano said Velasco refused and sided with lawmakers, who are tied to illegal business activities.
“I did not tolerate it and I can show you not only evidence later on but how they used Congress for their illegal activities,” he said.
Cayetano also accused Velasco’s camp of spreading lies in closed group chats and other forms of sabotage of congressional hearings via Zoom.
“Ano pong ginagawa ng iba natin kasamahan? Panay kasinungalingan sa Viber groups, iniisa isa mga kongresista na wag umattend ng sesyon and patayin daw yung Zoom, so we had to tell people,” he said.
The speaker, meanwhile, denied accusations of unfair budget allocations due to alleged politicking.
“Tinignan ko na yung top ten sa mga distrito na nakakuha. Seven out of ten po ay hindi super close sa akin. Hindi mo masasabing barkada,” Cayetano said.
Since early this year, Cayetano had been making similar accusations of an ouster plot and sabotage against Velasco’s camp, all of which were denied by the latter.
What Velasco said
Velasco, who was previously mum in public about the leadership struggle, finally aired his side in a video on his Facebook page on October 2, where he also claimed being at the receiving end of escalated “attacks” against him to put him in a bad light.
“For the last month, the attacks have escalated to malign me and paint me as power-hungry and evil. But in spite of these, I have kept quiet as a gentleman and a statesman out of respect for the President,” Velasco said.
WATCH: Hear the truth. Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s statement on the real score on the House speakership.
In the six-minute video, he denied claims he was plotting Cayetano’s ouster.
“Coup plot? It’s a cheap shot. Uulitin ko ang minsang binitawan kong salita sa Pangulo at sa taumbayan. Ako po ay isang tunay na lalake na may palabra de honor,” he said.
Velasco also clarified insinuations of him being “lazy” and “quiet” in Congress and that he chose to work off-camera.
“This is a complete falsehood. I have always worked quietly and consistently away from the camera,” he said.
Velasco similarly alleged that the budget allocations are the main reasons why Cayetano is keen on keeping his position.
“Budget ba ito para sa bayan or budget ito para sa barkada mo? Makabuluhang budget ba ito sa gitna ng pandemya o malaking budget ba ito para sa grupo mo?” he said.