Another House leader wants Cayetano to stay as Speaker
MANILA, Philippines — Another House leader wants Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to stay as leader of the chamber, a move that may foil the term-sharing deal between him and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
For House public accounts committee chair and Anakalusugan Rep. Michael Defensor, Cayetano’s stay at the helm would be “for the best interest of the country, and the Congress,” citing his high approval and trust rating based on the September Pulse Asia survey, as well as the speedy passage of the proposed P4.1-trillion national budget for 2020 by the House.
“I have nothing against the other candidates vying for the speakership… We are doing very well and I think for the best interest of the country, the best interest of Congress, we should continue with the leadership of Speaker Alan Cayetano and the rest of the leadership of the House,” Defensor said in a press conference on Tuesday.
The party-list representative said a change in leadership may disrupt the chamber’s work as it may entail changes in committee chairmanships.
“Kung ang pangulo natin ay playing coach ng basketball team at si Speaker ay forward or guard, eh siya ‘yung pumupuntos sa ngayon, bakit mo tatanggalin at ibabangko mo? [If our President is a playing coach of a basketball team and Speaker Cayetano is the forward or point guard who is delivering the points, why would you remove him?]” Defensor also argued.
ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Yap meanwhile, thinks an election of the Speaker should happen after Cayetano’s 15-month term.
“From the start naman, ‘yung stand namin dito eh kung magkakaroon ng sinasabing term sharing, magkakaroon ng eleksyon siguro para sa speakership [Our stand on the term-sharing deal has always been that there should be an election],” Yap, who chairs the games and amusement panel, said in the same briefing.
“Wala namang napirmahan na agreement na term sharing. Ang meron lang tayo, nagkaroon tayo ng eleksyon. ‘Yung term-sharing, meron silang verbal agreement doon, hindi naman ako kasama doon e,” he added.
(The deal was not signed. We held an election for the Speaker. The term-sharing was just a verbal agreement and that does not involve me.)
Yap, however, acknowledged that anything could happen as he is just one vote from the more than 300 members of the House.
“Nasa members ‘yan e… Kung ano yung mapagkakasunduan ng majority, susunod naman po tayo doon,” he said.
(It’s up to the House members… I’ll follow whatever the members of the majority would agree on.)
Cayetano earlier received a 62 percent trust rating and a 64 percent approval rating in the survey of Pulse Asia. National Unity Party president and Cavite 4th District Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. said this may prompt House members to support his reign at the fourth-highest elective post in the government.
While Cayetano welcomed his colleague’s remark, he said the term-sharing deal between him and Velasco stands. But he also said President Rodrigo Duterte — who had anointed him — has the final say.
Under the speakership term-sharing agreement backed by the President, Cayetano would serve for the first 15 months from July 2019 to October 2020 while Velasco would take-over the remaining 21 months of the three-year term. /jpv
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