Duterte pushes for Cayetano-Velasco term-sharing for Speaker
MANILA, Philippines—Amid the infighting in the Speaker race, President Rodrigo Duterte opted to go to the original term-sharing plan between Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Duterte made the announcement Monday during the oath-taking of newly appointed officials in Malacañang.
Meanwhile, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez will serve as House majority leader, Duterte said.
“I think it’s about time I talk. So your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano. Ang sharing dito is he shares the term with Lord Velasco. And si Romualdez will be the Majority Floor Leader,” Duterte said.
Duterte picked Cayetano and Velasco even as his children, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, were backing the bid for Speaker of Davao City 3rd District Representative Isidro Ungab.
Cayetano was Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections and former foreign affairs secretary.
In a statement, Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Cayetano would serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress before he would be succeeded by Velasco who would serve for the next 21 months.
“Since the election of the Speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their credit agree to respect the choice of President Duterte,” Panelo said.
Duterte’s proposal was in contrast with the PDP-Laban’s plan of having its nominee Velasco sitting as Speaker first before Cayetano.
In an interview with reporters, Duterte explained that he decided to have Cayetano sitting as Speaker first because he was the one who asked for his endorsement.
As for Ungab, the President said the Davao City Representative did not ask for his support.
Duterte also said that his decision to endorse Cayetano and Velasco was not meddling in the affairs of the lower chamber as he was just merely endorsing leaders and not meddling with their legislative work.
“It’s not really independence. I’m not really interfering in the work sa legislation. Leaders lang itong pinag-usapan natin, it has nothing to do with the independence of the legislative body. Up to that point, it’s all politics, ganun ‘yan,” Duterte pointed out.
“You are not interfering because you are choosing only the leaders. Now when they begin to work and do their task and you interfere, that’s the time that we can hear the complaints,” he added.
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