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House members may ditch term-sharing pact between Cayetano and Velasco

Alan Peter Cayetano
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano

Following high approval and trust ratings in a recent survey of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, lawmakers may not heed the 15-21 term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

In a news conference, House Committee on Public Accounts Chairman Mike Defensor said changing the Speaker after 15 months may affect the passage of priority measures of the administration and the 18th Congress.

Under the term-sharing agreement as recommended by President Duterte, Cayetano would occupy the Speaker post for the first 15 months, while the remaining 21 months of the 36th month of the 18th Congress will be taken by Velasco.

“I never campaigned for Cayetano but I have to admit that under his leadership, the House received the highest [rating]  in history. Also, the chairmen of different committees are all doing very well. So why change it?” Defensor said.

“I have nothing against the other candidates, in fact, as I have said, the leadership of the House is doing very well. We should continue the leadership of Cayetano. When you have change of leadership, it will affect our job and performance,” he added.

In the same news conference, House Committee on Games and Amusement Chairman Eric Go Yap said the term-sharing agreement “was only agreement among them.”

“There is no signed agreement. There should be another election, whoever [get the] votes of the majority…will be our next Speaker,” he said.

For his part, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon urged lawmakers to wait for the green light of the President “for after all, the term sharing emanated from him.”

“As a member like me, I only wish for effective leadership to steer legislature as vital partner of the administration in carrying out people’s interests. Of course, we are proud as House members for Speaker Cayetano for his high trust rating as it also reflects, apart from his commendable management, the society’s collective and individual perception among us congressmen,” he said.

“For sure, if ever the term sharing is to ensue, that will be faced by Congressman Velasco both as a challenge and inspiration. I’ve dealt and known these two great lawmakers, and they both posses requisites of competency and industry as House leaders,” added Leachon.

Earlier, Cayetano said, he would let Duterte to decide on the continuity of his leadership after 15 months as Speaker since July 2019.

“We’re all focused on the job now and I am working very well with everyone, especially [with] our Majority Leader Martin [Romualdez] and he has been producing for the House,” Cayetano said when asked about the possibility that he may continue to serve as House Speaker after 15 months.

He said Duterte, as the titular head of the supermajority, will decide his fate on the House leadership.

Meanwhile, Cayetano assured Velasco that he has nothing to worry about, assuring him what is important right now is for lower chamber to pass the legislative agenda of Duterte.

Earlier, Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of the National Unity Party said Cayetano’s 64-percent and 62-percent approval and trust ratings in the Pulse Asia survey “are remarkable if we consider the low marks the House received in previous Congresses.”

Barzaga said the term-sharing arrangement for the position of Speaker may soon be scuttled.

Image credits: AP/Bullit Marquez



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