MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte denied that he is interfering in the affairs of the House of Representatives with his endorsement of a term-sharing agreement between Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as House Speaker.
“There seems to be crisis already, nobody was willing to state with certainty. It’s not really independence, I am not interfering in the work sa legislation, leaders lang itong pinag-usapan natin,” Duterte said.
“It has nothing to do with the work of the legislative body. Up to that point, it’s all politics,” he continued.
Duterte said that it is ultimately the choice of legislators who to vote as House Speaker when the 18th Congress formally opens on July 22.
“That was their privilege actually, I was just trying to end the impasse. Nobody was sure to vote for whom, and they kept on asking ano yung, sino yung kandidato ni Presidente. So I shied away and said, no, if you can resolve the matter comfortably between you, do it. I hate to intrude. But apparently considering what happened in the last few days, and malapit na ang session, sabi ko my statement would really be, it’s time for me to talk,” he said.
The Palace has defended Duterte’s endorsement of a House Speaker saying that his allies had sought his intervention to resolve the issue.
“The President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates, who to their credit agree to respect the choice of PRRD,” Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a statement.
President Duterte said that he was merely honoring his earlier promise to support Cayetano’s bid for House Speaker when he endorsed a term-sharing agreement between him and Velasco in the House of Representatives.
Duterte said that Cayetano was the first one who told him during the 2019 midterm election campaign about his plans to gun for Speaker of the lower house.
“Siya nga unang nagsabi sa akin, and I promised him. Then Lord [Velasco], sabi ko let us see, kay [Martin] Romualdez, sabi ko let us see what develops. There might be some developments, eh wala eh, then pagka ganito, it’s time for me to talk, I will insist na kung ano yung pinag usapan natin, yun ang sundin natin,” Duterte said.
Meanwhile, the proposal to give the first 15 months to Cayetano and the succeeding 21 months to Velasco was made to resolve the conflict between the two lawmakers, Duterte said.
“Well, it was what was agreed upon, maybe out of just to do away with the conflict parang pareho ko kayo kaibigan, pareho kayo na nagkautang ako ng loob, so term-sharing na lang,” he said.