MANILA—President Rodrigo Duterte's "endorsement" of a term-sharing scheme for the House Speakership was a "puzzling" idea, Vice-President Leni Robredo said on Friday.
"Iyung term-sharing [for the House Speakership] hindi ko talaga 'yun maintindihan . . . Kasi kaya ka pumipili ng Speaker kasi ito 'yung tingin mong makaka-lead sa House of Representatives . . . So hindi ko maintindihan," Robredo said during an interview with DZMM.
(I don't get that term-sharing scheme for the House Speakership. The lawmakers should choose a Speaker who they think can lead the House of Representatives. So I don't get that.)
Duterte on Monday endorsed Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as the House Speaker for the first half of the 18th Congress, while Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will take over the post for the remaining period.
For Robredo, the executive branch had no business meddling with the selection of the House Speaker.
"Hindi karapatan ng executive na mag-meddle [sa legislative]. May separation of powers tayo. Dapat sana nirerespeto 'yun . . . 'Pag ako nangampanya ako sa House of Representative, nasa executive ako, parang binu-blur mo 'yung lines of separation," Robredo said.
(The executive branch cannot meddle with its legislative counterpart. We have to respect the separation of powers. If I campaign for my Speaker bet, I would be blurring the lines of that separation.)
Robredo also said Duterte should have refused to publicly name his preference.
"To publicly endorse, 'yun ang tingin kong hindi dapat . . . Dapat sana iyon maiiwan sa mga miyembro ng House kasi sila 'yung constituency," she said.
Duterte had earlier said he decided to speak out over the issue of House Speakership as it was already starting to create "uncertainty" among lawmakers.
"I tried to distance myself . . . But apparently I said it’s time that I talk . . . I avoided it. Nakita mo naman, it's creating so much uncertainty. I'll now talk. So, pinuwesto ko na," 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.