Alvarez: Cayetano should finish term as Speaker
MANILA, Philippines — Expressing his dissent on any term-sharing deal, former Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez on Wednesday said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should just continue as leader of the House throughout the 18th Congress.
“Hindi ako sang-ayon sa term-sharing, this is not about the speakership, this is about the country. Divisive yan eh,” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
(I do not agree with any term-sharing. This is not about the speakership, this is about the country. The issue is divisive.)
“Para sa akin kung naumpisahan ni Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano yan, ipatapos mo na sa kanya yan,” Alvarez said.
(For me, Cayetano should just finish what he has started.)
To recall, in July 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said Cayetano would serve as House Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco would succeed to serve in the remaining 21 months under a term-sharing agreement.
If this is to be followed, Cayetano’s term would end in October this year.
Should the term-sharing agreement pushes through, Alvarez said it would be hard for the new Speaker — which in this case is Velasco — to properly lead the House since it will be the filing of certificates of candidacy in 2021.
“Ano pa magagawa ng isang bagong Speaker? Let’s be practical about it,” he said.
Alvarez served as Speaker of the House during the first and second regular session of the 17th Congress from 2016 to 2018.
He was removed from position in a surprise coup staged by House members on the day of President Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address in July 2018, and was replaced by former President and then Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The issue of speakership agreement resurfaced 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 between congressional districts, particularly those of Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte in Taguig City and Camarines Sur, respectively.
Cayetano has accused Velasco of being involved not only in the recent plot to unseat him but also on previous coup attempts.
Breaking his silence on the issue, Velasco said he is not backing out from the term-sharing deal, countering allegations that he has been mute on issues and inactive in the House.
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