Cayetano camp accuses Velasco supporters of ‘outright lying’ to boost speakership bid
MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco resorted to “outright lying” to pad their numbers in a bid to gain the speakership post and even included deceased lawmaker Senior Citizens Partylist Rep. Francisco Datol in their count, two lawmakers claimed Monday.
Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte said Velasco and his supporters “are preoccupied with trying to get the members to join their hopeless cause” amid the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and the lawmaker from Marinduque.
To recall, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon said over the weekend that around 160 lawmakers in the 299-member House are backing Velasco’s speakership bid. Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza, meanwhile, claimed that Cayetano is “losing his grip and influence” in the lower chamber.
But Villafuerte claimed that Velasco’s camp’s expected votes supposedly included Datol who passed away in August as well as Deputy Speakers Johnny Pimentel and Aurelio Gonzales Jr. who have both signed a manifesto backing Cayetano’s continued speakership.
“In their desperation to mislead the President, our colleagues, and the public, Cong. Atienza and Cong. Leachon have even resorted to outright lying to pad their numbers,” Villafuerte said in a statement.
“They say that they have the full backing of both the partylist bloc and PDP-Laban, when we all know that that is impossible since Congressmen [Michael] Defensor and [Rodante] Marcoleta, as well as other partylist [representatives] have voted to reject the resignation of Speaker Cayetano,” the lawmaker added.
Defensor serves as the representatives of Anakalusugan Partylist while Marcoleta represents SAGIP Partylist in the lower chamber.
“All this lying is bound to catch up with them sometime. Especially since we already have 190 real, actual, living members who have reaffirmed their support for the Speaker, and at least 30 more who have indicated that they will support Speaker Cayetano should it come to a vote following the President’s statement that he will not intervene in the choice of individual members,” Villafuerte said.
“Let me remind Cong. Velasco about what the President said — the budget is more important to him than who sits as Speaker. When he rejected the President’s request, he already showed that nothing will get in the way of his ambition. Not the President, not his colleagues in this House, and certainly not the people,” he added.
Likewise, Deputy Speaker Dan Fernandez also belied that Velasco has the numbers to be elected at the helm of the House as he slammed the Marinduque lawmaker’s camp for engaging in “double-talk and disinformation.”
“Konting respeto lang naman sana. Huwag na nila isama ang mga namatay na sa bilang nila,” Fernandez said of Velasco’s camp supposedly including Datol in their count.
(They should at least show some respect, and not include the dead in their count.)
Fernandez also scored Atienza for using President Rodrigo Duterte as a “prop” to get congressmen to vote for Velasco.
“I just find it ridiculous that Cong. Atienza is now saying that it would be an affront to the President if we don’t vote for Cong. Velasco, samantalang tinatawag nyang mga tuta at sunod-sunuran sa Malacañang ang Kongreso nuong na-deny ang prankisa ng ABS-CBN,” Fernandez said.
(He said Congress is a puppet of Malacañang when the franchise of ABSCBN was denied.)
“‘Yan ba ang Palabra de Honor na sinasabi nya? ‘Yung pabago bago ang position? (Is this what he means when he talks about their word of honor? When they keep changing sides?)” he added.
Fernandez said it is this kind of “double-talk and disinformation” that “makes it hard for the members of Congress to trust Congressman Velasco,” adding that Atienza’s bad grasp of numbers makes it “easy to understand how Congressman Velasco and his allies are having a hard time understanding the budget process.”
“Eh kung sa simple one plus one pa lang nahihirapan na sila (They’re having a hard time even in simple arithmetic),” Fernandez said.
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