MANILA - Taguig Pateros Representative-Elect Alan Peter Cayetano said he was "disappointed" at House speakership rival, Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco for supposedly rejecting an already agreed term-sharing deal on the House Speakership of the 18th Congress.
In a statement, Cayetano confirmed that a term-sharing agreement was finalized Monday night during the thanksgiving Party of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago for allies who backed their senatorial slate in the 2019 Midterm Elections.
Cayetano claimed that President Rodrigo Duterte had pushed for a term sharing agreement as a "win-win solution" to resolve the row on the House speakership.
He also reiterated his support for the president, saying he "trust and respect the president's wisdom" and that he was willing to abide by it.
"I confirm that there was already an agreement in principle last Monday night. I want to reiterate that I am committed to support and follow the President as he in many occasions mentioned term sharing between myself and Cong Velasco. I trust and respect the President's wisdom," he said.
“It is for this reason that I am deeply disappointed that after we both expressed full agreement with the President's proposal, Rep Velasco and his wife are now making a turn around and won't honor [the] President's wishes."
However, Velasco refuted Cayetano's claim that the President pushed for the term sharing agreement to resolve the issue on the House speakership.
"President Duterte already made clear his position that he would leave the choice for Speakership to the capable hands of the members of Congress, and will not endorse a particular individual for the position. This declaration never mentioned a term-sharing for the position of Speaker," Velasco said in a statement.
Velasco further said most lawmakers agree the term sharing of the speakership will only lead to rifts between members of Congress.
"There is a strong consensus among majority members of the House of Representatives, during my series of consultation with them, that term-sharing is divisive and will only impede the passage of important pieces of legislation that this administration needs to fulfill its mandate and promise to the people," the congressman said.
Velasco, Cayetano, and Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez was at the party where Duterte said in jest he would rather let outgoing Speaker Gloria Arroyo pick her successor.
Multiple sources at the party told ABS-CBN News that the camps of Velasco and Cayetano came close to a term-sharing agreement, which some of its proponents have dubbed as the Magellan Formula.
This formula would have seen the 36 month term of the speaker divided with Cayetano taking the first 15 months and Velasco taking the last 21 months -- patterned after the year Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Philippines for Spain.
The same sources told ABS-CBN News that both camps already discussed candidates for committee chairmanships so panel leaders won’t have to be changed when Velasco takes his turn.
The next day, however, Velasco denied anew that he has accepted a term-sharing agreement with Cayetano.
Cayetano had already said he was open to a term-sharing agreement which supposedly had Duterte's go signal.
“Remember sa Malacañang nagkaroon ng event then sinabi ni presidente dalawa lang naman kami nagpaalam before the election sabi walang coverage next event then lumabas sa DZMM sabi ng pangulo kung siya masusunod term sharing,” Cayetano said in an interview in Clark, Pampanga last week.
Sources explained that the overriding concern for the Velasco-leaning solons was to stop Cayetano whom they feared maybe dictatorial and vindictive.
A source from the Cayetano camp however explained that the pro-Velasco lawmakers were only concerned that Cayetano will renege on the term-sharing and eventually refuse to give up the speakership.
Before this, Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte already accused Cayetano of making a threat against her if she backed Velasco for the speakership.
A source familiar with the matter said Duterte was supposed to announce the Magellan Formula.
But the multi-party manifesto of support released to media Wednesday stopped this, explaining that the manifesto was supposed to show the chief executive that Velasco has the numbers for the job.
The multi-party manifesto was signed by 5- PDP Laban’s Pampanga Rep. Aurelio Dong Gonzales, Nationalist Peoples Coalition (NPC) Congressmen Michael John Duavit and Weslie Gatchalian, and Northern Luzon Alliance Representatives Kristine Singson-Meehan.
Gonzales claimed they have 200 lawmakers for Velasco but could not yet release the actual list with signatures from the congressmen.
A source explained that the 200, broken down, would have 60 from the PDP, 40 partylist and 40 NPC, 15 LP, 15 NUP and 15 NP.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin said the party list bloc was not consulted by Romero before he signed, prompting the group to meet Wednesday night.
Garbin explained Thursday they accepted Romero’s explanation that he signed to stop the term-sharing agreement.
“We will meet again on July 2 so as to give way to other members who were not present last night.
"We fully understand the explanation of Cong. Romero in signing the Manifesto as it is only for the purpose of thwarting the proposed term sharing. The coalition will uphold the decision it arrived on June 19 which is to vote as a block,” he added.
All camps have claimed they have the numbers to claim the speakership but no one has shown signatures of support to the media.
The House rules also mandate that the election of a speaker be done in open session, with lawmakers' individual votes on public record.