Cayetano: Velasco behind oust plot
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday lashed out at colleagues in the House of Representatives who, he said, were using the controversy over the 2020 national budget and the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN to discredit his leadership.
He also accused the camp of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco of promising committee chairmanships and a bigger chunk of next year’s budget should the latter assume the Speaker’s post.
Cayetano’s statement came days after President Duterte reportedly withheld the release of about P80 billion in congressional “realignments” in the 2020 budget.
Velasco, Cayetano claimed, was luring House members into supporting his presumptive post by promising them bigger allocations.
“That’s foul, that’s not right. It is counter to our reforms,” Cayetano said.Velasco, however, dismissed as “baseless” the reports that he was behind the coup plot that, he said, was meant to cause “deep division” in the House.
“Up to this day, I continue to honor the term-sharing agreement brokered by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte when the 18th Congress convened in July 2019 … I am a man of my word,” Velasco said, referring to the pact that would have Cayetano in the Speaker’s post during the first 15 months of Congress’ three-year term, and himself in the remaining 21 months.
In Malacañang, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Duterte would not meddle in the alleged coup plot against Cayetano, unless he was asked to intervene and settle the rift between the two House leaders.
“He won’t interfere unless you ask him to settle whatever rift they have,” Panelo said in a press briefing, adding that Mr. Duterte “has not complained” about Cayetano’s performance.
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