Palace distances from House skirmish over speakership
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has distanced himself from the ruckus at the House of Representatives over the speakership.
“Katatawag lang po sa akin ng Presidente. Sabi po niya, stay out tayo dyan. No comment tayo dyan. That’s purely an internal affair of the House of Representatives,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an interview over PTV.
(The President just called me. He said, we stay out of that. No comment on that. That’s purely an internal affair of the House of Representatives.)
“Ibig sabihin po ginagalang po ni Presidente ang naging botohan,” Roque also said.
(It means the President respects the voting that happened.)
Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano offered Wednesday to resign from being Speaker. He made the bid during a speech at the House plenary, which was supposed to tackle the proposed 2021 national budget. Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor moved to reject Cayetano’s resign offer, and consequently, a nominal vote among legislators occurred resulting in 184 lawmakers refusing to accept Cayetano’s resignation as top leader of the lower chamber.
The night before, however, Duterte met with Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, the imminent successor to the speakership based on the 2019 gentleman’s agreement brokered by the President.
Multiple sources said Velasco will take over as Speaker of the. House of Representatives on October 14.
In 2019, Duterte brokered a term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco. Based on the agreement, Cayetano will serve as Speaker during the first 15 months of the 18th Congress – which means he should relinquish his post this October. On the other hand, the agreement designates Velasco as a successor to Cayetano to serve as Speaker in the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress.