Velasco ready to be next Speaker, cites term-sharing deal
MANILA, Philippines — “A gentleman’s agreement is a gentleman’s agreement.”
With these words, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco rejected on Monday any suggestion of letting Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano serve a full term as leader of the House of Representatives, after the latter implied he was keen to do so.
“Based on the gentleman’s agreement, I will see you next year as the next Speaker of the House,” the candidate of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan said.
‘It’s still on’
Velasco broke his silence weeks after Cayetano’s allies in the Nacionalista Party and the National Unity Party floated the idea of doing away with the term-sharing deal because of the Speaker’s high trust and approval ratings.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s still on. A gentleman’s agreement is a gentleman’s agreement,” he told reporters in a chance interview.
But he added that it was still too early to be talking about the deal since it’s only November.
“So right now, we’re just focused on working, especially with me as the energy chairman again, focusing on passing laws that I believe will help lower the cost of electricity to help our people,” Velasco said.
Before the opening of the 18th Congress in July, Cayetano and Velasco agreed to split the term with the former serving as Speaker for the first 15 months and the latter taking over for the remaining 21 months.
The deal was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte as the four-cornered speakership fight grew increasingly ugly.
The third candidate, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, was appointed majority leader, while the fourth candidate, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab, reclaimed chairmanship of the appropriations panel.
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