House suspends session ahead of Oct. 14 speakership showdown
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives suspended its session on Tuesday, a week before the anticipated speakership showdown between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
According to the House’s calendar, the lower chamber is scheduled to go on break on October 16, two days after the House members were expected to vote on who will take the speakership post.
But in a surprise move, the House suspended the session until November 16 after approving the unexpected early approval on the second reading of House Bill No. 7727 or the General Appropriations Bill (GAB), which contains the proposed national budget for 2021.
During Tuesday’s session, Cayetano made a motion to terminate the period of debates and amendments on the proposed budget and instead moved to create a committee that will cater to House members’ proposed amendments.
With the period of debates and amendments now closed, a motion was made to approve the proposed 2021 budget on second reading. The motion was seconded and approved.
“In accordance with the legislative calendar, I move that we suspend the session until November 16, 2020, Monday, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon,” Deputy Majority Leader Xavier Jesus Romualdo said.
Why this matters to the speakership row
This means that the session was suspended before the expected turnover date of the speakership from Cayetano to Velasco, which is October 14.
To recall, when President Rodrigo Duterte met with both Cayetano and Velasco to settle the speakership row, news broke out that the Marinduque lawmaker will take over the post starting October 14.
The following day, Cayetano offered to resign, but his colleagues immediately rejected this.
Cayetano’s allies in the lower chamber have claimed that the rejection of the House Speaker’s resignation offer manifests the support for his continued leadership.
But Velasco’s camp has insisted, on multiple occasions, that Cayetano follow the agreement.
Under the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco would succeed to serve for the remaining 21 months under a term-sharing agreement. [ac]
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