For the Palace, the House leadership ‘controversy is over’: Time to pass 2021 budget
MANILA, Philippines — After solons rejected Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s offer to resign, Malacañang on Thursday said the ”controversy is over” at the House of Representatives and it’s time to buckle down to business: passing the 2021 national budget on schedule.
“Well, tingin ko tapos na naman po ang controversy ‘no. At ang talagang paulit-ulit na pakiusap ni Presidente, kinakailangan mapasa ang ating COVID-19 budget on time,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an online briefing.
(I think the controversy is over. And the President has repeatedly asked for the passage of our COVID-19 budget on time.)
Asked to expound about his remark on the controversy being over, Roque said members of the House of Representatives already decided on the matter when they rejected Cayetano’s offer to resign on Wednesday.
“Well, I think that’s what happened yesterday. He offered to resign, it was rejected, he continues to be Speaker,” Roque said.
Roque also reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte will respect the lawmakers’ decision on the speakership squabble, saying the issue is “internal” for the lower chamber.
The President met Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco on Tuesday night amid the term-sharing tussle.
Cayetano, the next day, offered to resign as Speaker but 184 lawmakers voted to reject the move.
Cayetano’s resign offer came even if he has an existing term-sharing deal with Velasco as brokered by Duterte in 2019. Based on the agreement, Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first 15 months – or up to October this year – and Velasco will take over in the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress.
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