161 congressmen back Velasco as House speaker, says solon
MANILA, Philippines — At least 161 congressmen have so far signified their support for Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as Speaker of the House of Representatives, one of his allies said Thursday.
“The number as of now, because I’m one of those listing actually and [I] was able to talk to almost all of the members together with the party leaders, as of now we have more or less about 161,” Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Doy Leachon said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel.
The leadership feud between Velasco and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is heating up in the lower chamber with both camps claiming they have the numbers to prevail in the speakership row.
The speakership row was expected to be settled on October 14 but Cayetano and his allies moved to suspend the session until November 16.
Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte himself in 2019, Cayetano should only serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco should succeed him and serve as Speaker in the remaining 21 months.
“Even the minority bloc and so with us are actually condemning the illegal suspension of the session. With all due respect to the other camp, they’ve been saying ‘show us the numbers,’ how can we show the number if in the first place you suspended it (session) primarily because probably already that you are losing the numbers,” Leachon said.
“They called off the session precisely [because] they know for a fact that the election is forthcoming,” he added.
On Wednesday, Cayetano dared Velasco to show him that he indeed has the numbers to be elected and take the helm of the House of Representatives.
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