At least 186 lawmakers have voted to declare the position of House Speaker vacant and elected Rep. Lord Allan Velasco a day before a special session would be convened for the passage of the 2021 budget.
In addition to the gathering, a manifesto of “solid majority” of House members also circulated to the media early in the morning calling to “assemble, move to, and cast their vote” to declare the position of Speaker vacant today.
The manifesto read that 187 congressmen were part of the manifesto, but only 15 were signatories to it so far.
The manifesto read: “We will move to and cast our vote to declare Representative Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.”
Some of the names included in the manifesto were congressmen, composed of allies of Velasco and leaders of political parties in the House: Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, Valenzuela Rep. Eric Martinez, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc, and Albay Rep. Joey Salceda of PDP-Laban; Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab of Hugpong ng Pagbabago; Rizal Rep. Jack Duavit, Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian of Nationalist People’s Coalition; and 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero of the Party-list Coalition.
Members of the minority, representing different blocs, were also part of the manifesto: BUHAY Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, Jr.,Ilocos Sur Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan of the Northern Luzon Alliance; Negros Occidental Rep. Jose Benitez of the Visayas bloc; Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez of the Mindanao bloc; Sulu Rep. Munir Arbison of Nacionalista; and Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar of the Liberal Party.
The lower chamber is set to hold a special session by order of President Rodrigo Duterte from October 13 to 16 to resume plenary deliberations and finally pass the 2021 budget
Currently, session is suspended by motion of Cayetano after the budget was approved on second reading. The move to suspend ahead of the Oct. 17 schedule was seen as maneuvering by the incumbent Speaker to prevent Velasco from replacing him at the helm.