Defensor to solons who want leadership change: Declare Speaker’s post vacant
MANILA, Philippines — Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor advised fellow solons who want a change in leadership of the House to declare the post of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano vacant and see who gets the vote.
Defensor said this after Cayetano offered to resign on Wednesday in response to his term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco. However, 184 lawmakers voted to reject his resignation offer.
“First of all, I will not advise Speaker Alan to resign because we have already voted then we vote again. I would advise those who want a change of leadership to declare the seat vacant,” Defensor said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel on Thursday.
“I don’t think there will be a fight amongst us, it will be a question of vote. And if in the end, they do not get the numbers then I think we should just continue our work and respect each other,” he added.
Does this mean that one of Velasco’s supporters has to start a coup against Cayetano? Defensor said not necessarily as it was only a matter of process.
“Unang-una, ‘yung speakership, hindi naman ito entitlement eh. Hindi ito hari at may prinsipe at after bumaba ang hari, ‘yung prinsipe na ang uupo,” Defensor said.
(First of all, speakership is not an entitlement. It is not like there is a king and there is a prince who takes over once the king steps down.)
“Number two, the speakership is not an appointed decision, it was a collective decision. Alan Cayetano got 266 votes so that responsibility is not only a responsibility to the President or to anyone who he made a gentleman’s agreement with or to all of us who comprise Congress so the person who would want to lead the House should also assert himself and lead Congress and in this case, a simple motion to declare the office vacant would pave the way if indeed they have the votes to transfer the leadership of the House,” he added.
Continued support towards Cayetano
Defensor likewise said that the results of the vote rejecting the resignation offer of Cayetano manifested the support of the “overwhelming majority” towards his continued leadership.
“Basically, whatever it was—whether it was resignation or offer for resignation—the vote is a manifestation of the continued support of the overwhelming majority of the House,” Defensor said.
“So kahit naman sinabi natin na resign o offer to resign, hindi naman ‘yun yung materyal. Ang materyal doon, sino talaga ang mga sumusuporta at naniniwala na dapat patuloy at magpatuloy ang liderato ni Speaker Cayetano,” he added.
(Even if we call it a resignation or an offer to resign, that’s not what matters. What matters is that it showed who supports and believes that Speaker Cayetano’s leadership should continue.)
Voting on an offer to resign, however, is not included in the rules of the House.
Section XIII of House rules states that “a vacancy is created whenever any of the officers dies, resigns, or is permanently incapacitated, or when the House declares any office vacant.”
“In case of death, resignation or permanent incapacity of the Speaker, an Acting Speaker chosen by a majority of the Deputy Speakers from among themselves, shall assume the duties of the Speaker until a new Speaker is elected,” the rules state.
Nonetheless, Defensor defended his move, saying his motion should have been voted out if there were lawmakers who disagreed.
“Itong offer of resignation or resignation of the Speaker, to my mind, does not matter. If that offer was there at nakita Ito ng kampo ni Lord Velasco, nakita nila o ng karamihan, wag na lang tayo magturuan kung kaninong kampo but karamihan nakikita nila dapat may pagbabago, then my motion should have been voted out,” Defensor said.
(If the offer was there and Velasco’s camp—or whichever camp—saw that there should be changes, then my motion should have been voted out.)
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