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‘Time to go, Mr. Speaker’: House better off with Velasco than ‘hooligan’ Cayetano, says Atienza

/ 11:24 AM October 07, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Calling Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano a “hooligan,” Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said Wednesday the House of Representatives would be better off with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco at the helm.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Atienza said that everyone in the House of Representatives is competent, debunking claims of some lawmakers that Velasco should not be elected as Speaker over questions on his competence mainly due to his alleged inactivity.

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“I will personally vouch, kung between Cayetano and Velasco, you are not even comparing because malayong-malayo ang ugali ni Velasco,” Atienza said.

“Congress will be better off with a man, a gentleman like Velasco and not a hooligan like Cayetano. ‘Yan ang diperensiya nilang dalawa… Anyone can be a Speaker because for that matter, as long as you can get the support of your peers, then you can be a Speaker,” he added.

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Atienza then made his message clear as he reiterated his earlier claims that Cayetano no longer has the support of his colleagues: “Time to go, Mr. Speaker. Time to go.”

During Tuesday’s session, Cayetano moved to terminate the period of debates and amendments to House Bill No. 7727 or the 2021 General Appropriations Bill (GAB).

With the period of debates and amendments closed, a motion was made to approve the proposed 2021 budget on second reading. The motion was approved and consequently, the session was suspended until November 16.

This means that there will be no session on October 14, the expected date for the speakership showdown where House members will vote on who will sit at the helm of the lower chamber.

Atienza said that this move by Cayetano was prompted by President Rodrigo Duterte’s remarks to Velasco that it is his right to insist on his speakership bid as part of the term-sharing agreement with Cayetano.

But with the session suspended, is it now impossible for Velasco to be elected as Speaker of the House on October 14?

“If the majority of the members will feel otherwise, we can meet and re-convene… He adjourned it illegally, there was not even a question asked or debate allowed. There was not even a vote,” Atienza said.

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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.

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TAGS: Alan Peter Cayetano, House speakership, Lito Atienza
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