Villafuerte: Cayetano to honor term-sharing deal but House members will decide
MANILA, Philippines — While Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has vowed to honor his term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for the speakership, it will still be the members of the House of Representatives who will choose their leader.
Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte said this Wednesday after it was reported that Velasco will take over as Speaker of the House starting October 14, true to the term-sharing deal between him and Cayetano.
“Speaker Alan will honor the agreement but the members still have to decide. We will pass the budget, we will assert our power of the purse contrary to what Lord has said and he has to convince his peers na wala talagang palitan sa chairmanship and we will scrutinize the budget and pass a good budget—a people’s budget,” Villafuerte said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
During the meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night, Villafuerte said Cayetano vowed to follow the term-sharing agreement but also pointed out that he cannot speak on behalf of the House members.
“Si Speaker has clearly stated na he will honor. But he also made it clear—not in defiance, as a matter of fact, hindi siya nagde-defy sa coalition. Sabi niya, ‘Mr. President, I will honor the agreement, I will resign if I have to anytime, but I cannot speak for my supporters, colleagues, and members of the House,” Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte said that Cayetano “cannot do anything if he is voted to stay.”
The Camarines Sur lawmaker said Velasco should also get the respect of his colleagues, adding that there are questions on Velasco’s competence.
Villafuerte said Velasco supposedly said he will not make changes on the proposed 2021 budget.
“Sabi ng mga congressman, how can that be? We have the power of the purse, we have the budgetary power to scrutinize the budget and make changes to improve what we feel is right?” Villafuerte said.
“With all due respect to Congressman Lord, nabasa ba niya ‘yung budget? How can he say that ipapasa niya as is? Before this, ang daming congressman nagrereklamo about allocation in their district, you have to listen to them,” he added.
Villafuerte also pointed out that the agreement was that there will be no changes in House leaderships—including committee chairmanships.
But during the talks, Villafuerte said Velasco was already saying that he would move the appropriations committee chairmanship from ACT-CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Yap to Rep. Isidro Ungab.
“Too early in the game, ill-advised. We are very sure that papalitan niya ang chairmanship kasi pinangakuan na niya ang mga kasama niya eh,” Villafuerte said.
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