BREAK: Cayetano resigns as Velasco’s speakership election ratified
MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano announced Tuesday his resignation from his post, ironically while Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s speakership election was being ratified in the plenary.
In a Facebook live, Cayetano announced his “irrevocable resignation” amid his speakership battle with Velasco.
“We’re okay, we will continue to help but right now, verbally, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation as the Speaker of the House of the Republic of the Philippines,” Cayetano said.
However, Cayetano appealed to his colleagues to conduct the elections at 3 p.m. or the scheduled resumption of session for the budget deliberations.
“At 3 o’clock, elect your new Speaker and pass the budget… You can elect at 3 o’clock. Walang maneuvers, walang political tactics na mangyayari diyan [No maneuvers, no political tactics that will happen there],” Cayetano said.
Cayetano also apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte for “misunderstanding” that the latter wanted him to finish the budget deliberations before relinquishing his post.
“Ang pagkakaalam ko talaga, I was to handle the budget and I was told until matapos ‘yung budget para walang disruption and I invited Congressman Velasco to join me,” Cayetano said.
(Based on my understanding, I was to handle the budget and I was told until budget deliberations are finished so that there would be no disruption and I invited Congressman Velasco to join me.)
“Mr. President, if I made a mistake, mali ang reading ko, misunderstood ko na gusto mong ituloy at tapusin ko ang budget, ako’y humihingi ng paumanhin. Hindi ko intention—never—na hindi ka sundin,” he added.
(Mr. President, if I made a mistake, my reading was wrong, I misunderstood that you want to continue and finish the budget, I apologize. It was not my intention–never–not to follow you.)
Cayetano lamented the recent divide among President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House due to the speakership row, saying that only those in the opposition are benefitting from it.
The outgoing House Speaker also thanked his “remaining friends” in various political parties and party-lists.
“Dadalawa lang ang House ng Kongreso—Senado at Kongreso. Walang third house na tinatawag pong Celebrity Sports Club. Ang members noon ay members ng Sports Club, hindi members ng Kongreso,” Cayetano said.
(There are only two houses of Congress–Senate and Congress. There is no third house that is called Celebrity Sports Club. Members of that club are members of the Sports Club, not members of Congress.)
To recall, 186 lawmakers elected Velasco as the new House Speaker on Monday morning in a session held outside the House, which Cayetano has called a sham.
But in his Facebook live, Cayetano claimed that as of Monday night, Velasco only had 121 supporters and that his camp rallied to get more numbers to prove that they indeed had 186 lawmakers voted in favor of the Marinduque lawmaker.
“All of that is under the bridge, let’s unite Congress. The institution is important, it is an institution of democracy. Tayo [We], we’re irrelevant, napapalitan tayo pero yung institution nandyan [we are dispensable but the institution remains there],” Cayetano said.
“Congress is not only an institution, it’s a symbol. So pag binaboy natin ang Kongreso, binaboy din natin ang ating bansa [If we mess up Congress, we mess up the entire country],” he added.
The outgoing House Speaker also alleged that there were already “acts of violence” when Velasco’s camp pushed to open the plenary session earlier than expected.
“Sinira ang mga pinto sa Kongreso, sinabihan ko ang Secretary General, ayokong may masaktan. Pabayaan mo sila kung gusto nila mag-takeover. Let them use the hall, walang masasaktan,” Cayetano said.
(Doors at Congress were destroyed, I told my Secretary General I don’t want anyone to get hurt. Just let them do what they want if they want to take over. Let them use the hall, no one will be hurt.)
While Cayetano was live on Facebook announcing his resignation, Velasco’s speakership election was being ratified in the House.
In July 2019, Duterte announced that a term-sharing agreement would take place between Velasco and Cayetano.
Under the agreement, Cayetano would serve as Speaker in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress before he would be succeeded by Velasco who would serve for the next 21 months.
This is a developing story.
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