Roque: House session suspension an ‘astute political move’
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday described the suspension of House session until November 16 an “astute political move” as it prevents anyone from questioning the Speakership during the break.
“It’s not illegal. But I would think it’s a very astute political move. Because it avoided intramurals that could have possibly happened on October 14,” Roque, a lawyer and former lawmaker, said in an interview over CNN Philippines when asked about the legality of the session suspension.
“So, for what it’s worth, I think you need to have the experience of Speaker Alan Cayetano because he has dealt with the same rules, not only for three terms as congressman, this is already his fourth term as congressman, but also as a two termer senator,” he added.
On Tuesday, the House of Representatives suspended the session after approving the proposed 2021 national budget on second reading. They are expected to vote on the final approval of the budget when they resume session on November 16.
The session suspension comes a week before Cayetano was expected to turnover the Speakership to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on October 14.
“Because there was a plenary vote that they will go on break already, that means no one can question already the Speakership on October 14. The earliest that they can do that is November 16,” Roque said.
After Cayetano and Velasco met with President Rodrigo Duterte, news broke out that the Marinduque congressman will take over the speakership starting October 14.
Cayetano offered to resign which the lawmakers rejected. Velasco, meanwhile, insisted that they follow the term-sharing agreement brokered by the President.
Under the deal, 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.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.