‘Super majority coalition’ in House backs Cayetano’s continued speakership
MANILA, Philippines — House leaders crossed party lines to express support for the continued speakership of Alan Peter Cayetano, though it meant going against his term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco.
In a manifesto, several House leaders belonging to different political parties expressed their “continued full and equivocal support for Speaker Cayetano and the entire leadership of the House, and join the President in his desire to allow the membership to chart its own course in choosing those who would lead in this chamber.”
Among those who signed the manifesto were House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, who is president of the LAKAS-Christian Muslim Democrats; Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante of the National Unity Party (NUP); Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., who is NUP president; and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. of the Nacionalista Party.
The signatories were Deputy Speakers Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Johnny Pimentel—both of whom are from PDP-Laban, Velasco’s political party.
Several other House and political party leaders also signed the document.
“The burden of leadership comes with certain privileges, among which is the honor to represent our fellow citizens in matters of public importance. But with this also comes the challenge of living up to the high standards of our countrymen,” the manifesto read.
“And in this, we the members of the Duterte administration Super Majority Coalition in the 18th Congress, now come together and pledge our commitment to the continued leadership of Speaker Cayetano as we strive to always put the best interests of the Filipino ahead at all times,” it added.
The manifesto also called for the immediate passage of the proposed national budget for 2021.
“Amid the political noise that has enveloped, and threatened to derail the smooth and immediate passage of the 2021 General Appropriations Act in the House of Representatives, members of the 18th Congress are now called upon to act — bearing in mind the welfare of their constituents and of the country as a whole — and put aside partisan bickering in favor of the larger People’s agenda that calls for a fair, balanced, and equitable budget that will help the country recover swiftly from the effects of COVID-19,” the manifesto said.
In July 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said Cayetano would serve as House speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress. Then Velasco would succeed to serve for the remaining 21 months under a term-sharing agreement.
If this were to be followed, Cayetano’s term would end in October this year.
In February, Cayetano said that Velasco was promising chairmanships and budget allocations to members of the lower chamber, saying that he had received “verified” information regarding an “attempt” to oust him as the speaker.
Velasco denied there was a plan to oust Cayetano, saying the reports about the issue were “baseless.”
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