A birthday girl’s countdown uploaded on House Twitter account as speakership row continues

October 13, 2020 - 12:30 PM
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President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during his State of the Nation Address at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Philippines July 27, 2020. (Presidential Photos/via Reuters)

The Twitter account of the House of Representatives suddenly posted a photo of a countdown of a random girl’s birthday amid the tension for the speakership role.

A faction of 186 congressmen voted Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) as the new House Speaker during a remote House session they conducted at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on October 12.

This even was also live-streamed on state-run Radio Television Malacañang.

Both Velasco and incumbent House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano held separate press conferences airing their opposition to one another holding the Speakership role, which is the fourth highest position in the country.

Amid the House shakeup, the official Twitter account of the Lower House posted the photo of a girl with the caption: “Almost my birthday!”

It has since been deleted but several social media users managed to make screenshots of it.

Others quipped that “kids” might be running the social media account of the country’s representatives.

“The idea that a kid is running the social media account of the Philippine House of Representatives,” one user said.

The account issued a statement later that night and said that the House of Representatives’ social media administrators were currently investigating the matter.

“An unauthorized post was made on the House Twitter account earlier today. The post was deleted immediately and the House social media admins are now investigating the incident,” the tweet read.

The next day, Filipinos continued to poke fun at this online snafu and expressed their greetings to the supposed birthday girl.

Some users, meanwhile, expressed disappointment over the situation and noted on the organization’s lack of accountability.

“Tapos na ba mga drama ninyo? Ok na ba mga allowances? Ok na din ba na unahin naman ninyo ang mga ordinaryong Pilipino?” one user said.

“Imbis na umamin na lang, mag-apologize at magsabing gagawa ng paraan para di na maulit, magde-deflect at magde-delay as ‘investigation.’ Gawain ng mga walang accountability. Basura,” another said.

Birthdays played a part

Cayetano previously bared that his and Velasco’s birth dates played a role in the term-sharing agreement President Rodrigo Duterte brokered to them in 2019.

Cayetano would be celebrating his 50th birthday on October 28 and Velasco’s 42nd on November 9.

Based on the initial “gentleman’s agreement,” Cayetano would serve as the Speaker for 15 months and Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

Following a meeting with the chief executive, the turnover date was reportedly set on Wednesday, October 14.

After the remote session installed Velasco as the new Speaker, he appealed to Cayetano to end their in-fighting and for him to step down “quietly.”

“Let’s stop all this. Nagsalita na ang mayorya ng Kongreso. We’re asking him to step down quietly and peacefully,” he said.

Cayetano, however, denounced the informal House session as a “travesty” and claimed that he was previously told to hold on the speakership until December.

“We have a game plan. Any time Malacañang tells us to stop, that’s okay. But I was told very directly that because of the coronavirus, the October date would not be followed and I would hold the speakership maybe until December. The problem is that he is stubborn,” Cayetano said. 

The session that Velasco’s allies held transpired after Cayetano moved to suspend the plenary last week and approved the 2021 General Appropriations Bill to second reading.

The budget proposal amounts to P4.5 trillion.

On Tuesday noon, Cayetano tendered “irrevocable resignation” as House Speaker via Facebook live.