Sotto: Senate ‘can work with any Speaker’
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate can work with the House of Representatives regardless of who sits at its helm, Senate President Vicente Sotto III assured Wednesday.
“We can work with any Speaker as long as we have the same perspective,” Sotto said in a message to reporters.
Sotto said lawmakers can continue working on priority measures through a “mini” Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) even there would be a change in the leadership of the House.
“Never had [a LEDAC meeting] since the pandemic,” he noted.
On Tuesday night, President Rodrigo Duterte met with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as speakership issues linger in the House of Representatives.
Multiple sources said Velasco will take over as Speaker on October 14 but Deputy Speaker and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, an ally of Cayetano, said the date was not mentioned during the meeting.
Nevertheless, Villafuerte said Cayetano vowed to honor his term-sharing deal with Velasco.
Under the term-sharing deal brokered by Duterte in 2019, Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first 15 months, or until October this year, of the 18th Congress while Velasco replaces him to lead the House of Representatives for the remaining 21 months.
Similar to Sotto’s views, Senator Panfilo Lacson said a change in leadership will not affect the Senate.
“No matter who leads the House, the Senate – or at least like-minded senators who choose to be the vanguards against the legislative abuse of the power of the purse – will not be affected,” Lacson said in a separate statement.
“We will continue to exercise what is expected of us in exercising our mandate and our obligation to the Filipino people in this regard,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said he respects the internal processes of the House with talks of a change in its leadership.
“What is far more important is for the entire Congress to continue deliberating on the legislative agenda and priorities of the Duterte Administration, including the 2021 national budget and other priority measures,” Go said.
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