Leaders of major blocs in the House of Representatives urged Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco to let Alan Peter Cayetano stay as Speaker of the lower chamber.
During the plenary session on Wednesday, September 23, several lawmakers expressed their desire for Cayetano to remain as their leader until the end of their term.
This development came after Cayetano met with majority-allied lawmakers to settle their issues over the distribution of infrastructure allocations under the proposed P4.5-trillion budget in 2021.
Last year, President Rodrigo Duterte had to intervene and broker a term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco. Under the agreement, Cayetano was to serve as Speaker for 15 months – or until October this year – then Velasco would take over in the 21 months after that.
On Wednesday, Cayetano told congresspeople that there was no need to resort to “blackmailing” in budget negotiations. They just have to directly speak to Cayetano and House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez.
“Martin and I agreed that all representatives with concerns, even if it’s about just one constituent, can talk to us,” Cayetano said.
“But there will be no blackmailing, there will be no hostage-taking, there will be no moves that will force us to agree to pork, parking, or corruption,” he added.
Supportive manifestations from solons also explained that changing leadership in the legislative institution during a pandemic is not appropriate and timely.
“We find it unwise to rock the boat of the country’s legislative institution while our nation wallows in this global health pandemic, to which undivided attention and united efforts of the country’s leaders are paramount,” Deputy Speaker Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental 2nd District said.
However, Velasco maintains his interest on the Speakership post, saying that he will lead the lower chamber “at the right time.”