Solon: Velasco didn’t work, lead in 15 months so why expect us to follow him?
MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker has claimed Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco did not “work, contribute, lead” the House of Representatives, especially in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, thus he cannot expect lawmakers to follow him in his bid for the speakership.
Capiz 2nd District Rep. Fredenil Castro on Tuesday said Velasco should have used his time and effort to “productively show” that he could lead the House and be the Speaker.
However, Velasco instead “showed his true self,” Castro said.
“He did not work, he did not contribute, he did not defend this House, he did not lead. So why expect us to follow him?” he said during his privilege speech on Tuesday’s session.
“It was his mistake to think that he could just do nothing in 15 months and then just one day appear in Congress to claim the speakership as if it was his birthright,” he added.
To recall, in July 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said Cayetano would serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco would succeed to serve for the remaining 21 months under a term-sharing agreement.
If this is to be followed, Cayetano’s term would end in October this year.
Castro questioned Velasco’s ability to lead the lower chamber of Congress.
The issue of speakership agreement reignited once more after presidential son and House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte earlier threatened to declare as vacant the positions of Speaker and Deputy Speakers amid ongoing speakership row fueled by the “disparity” in infrastructure budget allocations in their respective districts.
However, this did not come to fruition on Monday when the session ended early.
The whole issue began when Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. questioned the distribution of funds to congressional districts, particularly those of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte in Taguig City and Camarines Sur, respectively.
Speaker Cayetano has accused Velasco of being involved not only in the recent plot to unseat him but also in previous coup attempts.
Cayetano said this has been the third or fourth coup attempt against him plotted by Velasco and his allies since Cayetano assumed the speakership.
“I think, pangatlo, pang-apat na coup attempt na nila ‘to e. Tingin ata nila na padamihan ng attempt at, finally, kapag maraming attempt, makukuha nila,” he said.
(I think this was their third, fourth coup attempt. They thought that with more coup attempts they would eventually clinch power.)
Cayetano, however, said he is willing to step down from his post if House members no longer want him as their leader.
“But you know, as I said, once na hindi na ako gusto (they want me out), whether it’s by the coalition or by the President, hindi na nila kailangan ako i-coup d’etat e, usap lang ‘yan (no need for a coup, we’ll just talk),” he said.
Who should be Speaker?
Villafuerte Jr., the Deputy Speaker for Finance, earlier revealed that a “supermajority” of lawmakers wanted Cayetano to remain seated as the chamber’s leader instead of Velasco.
He claimed that Velasco has not been vocal nor active in any major issue that hounded the House.
Should the President let congressmen resolve the House speakership row, Villafuerte said he believes Velasco does not stand a chance in terms of numbers.
“With all due respect to Congressman Lord, ever since that there was an announcement of 15-21 (term-sharing), he was never really active in Congress,” he said.
Velasco should have partnered with Cayetano when he was declared as the replacement for the latter, Villafuerte noted.
“I haven’t seen or heard Congressman Lord active in any major issue. We don’t see him in Congress. It was really his choice not to be the presumptive speaker. The congressmen now are saying we’d rather let Speaker Alan continue because he’s active, he performs, he’s qualified, these are the general sentiments of congressmen,” he said.
INQUIRER.net is contacting Velasco for his side. [ac]
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