'Perception,' says Palace on Cayetano's sabotage claim vs Velasco

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 27 2020 04:32 PM | Updated as of Feb 27 2020 05:59 PM

MANILA -- Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's claim of a plot allegedly hatched by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to sabotage him, could be based on "perception," Malacanang said Thursday.

President Rodrigo Duterte should not be involved in the exchange between Cayetano and Velasco since it is "internal" to the House, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Duterte brokered a term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco to lead the house during the 3-year term of the 18th Congress ending in 2022, with Cayetano taking the first half as speaker.

"Maybe that is only the perception of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano," Panelo told reporters in Malacanang.

Cayetano, Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections, claimed Thursday that his office was able to trace efforts from Velasco's camp to sabotage the work of the House of Representatives.

"Now that he said he will wait, he intends to honor it, honor it by supporting the majority. Meron kasi mga pananabutahe sa budget na nangyayari ngayon that I had to deal with. Na-trace namin sa kampo nila," Cayetano said.

(Now that he said he will wait, he intends to honor it, honor it by supporting the majority. There are efforts to sabotage the budget [deliberations] that I had to deal with. We traced it on their camp.)

Velasco denied hatching a plan to shake up the House leadership, adding Cayetano's allegations were "meant to create deep division" in the chamber.

Referring to the term-sharing deal, Panelo said: "Since there has been an agreement [and] since Speaker Cayetano said he would comply with the agreement, I don’t think there is a problem."

"Walang advice ang Pangulo. Kung ano ang pinagkasunduan nila, sila dapat ang mag-resolve nun," Panelo said.

(The President has no advice. It's up to them to resolve the issues of their agreement.)

Asked if the President would mediate between the two, Panelo said: "The President does not interfere… That’s the internal affair of Congress ‘di siya makikialam diyan unless you ask him to settle whatever rift they have if there is any."