Duterte must enforce term-sharing deal he brokered, says Lagman
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should enforce the term-sharing deal that he himself arranged in 2019 and which has since been badgering the House of Representatives, Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said Friday.
Lagman said the ongoing feud between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco has derailed House deliberations and imperiled the seasonable enactment of the 2021 national budget.
“Since Cayetano does not want to honor the ’15-21’ deal on the pretext that the majority of the Representatives want him to prolong his tenure as Speaker, then it is incumbent upon Duterte to unequivocally enforce the term-sharing agreement because what the President has brokered must not be broken as it binds Duterte’s allies,” Lagman pointed out in a statement.
“Duterte must tell the Members of the House and the people in no uncertain terms that the compromise must be respected and honored, and Cayetano must irrevocably resign and Velasco should take over as the new Speaker,” he added.
Lagman added that Duterte should avoid “any ambivalent language or mystical message” as this could be interpreted differently by the camps involved.
“Since the President said that he is not a lame duck, perforce, he must instruct his supermajority allies in the House to follow his clear and unambiguous solution to the impasse,” Lagman said.
“The tradition, albeit flawed, is that the Speaker is chosen in Malacañang, and the anointment is simply confirmed by the President’s allies in the House of Representatives in uncontested nominal voting,” he added.
Lagman likewise asked Duterte to call for a special session so deliberations on the enactment of the 2021 national budget could resume and reach its timely passage.
In an unexpected move, Cayetano and his allies moved to terminate deliberations on the planned spending measure even if a number of proposed funding by various government agencies are yet scrutinized.
With the period of debates and amendments closed, the budget was approved on second reading on October 6.
Consequently, House sessions are suspended until November 16, meaning there would be no session on October 14 when the speakership issue was supposed to be settled.