MANILA -- Majority of House of Representatives members want Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to stay as their leader despite his term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, their colleague said Tuesday.
In the deal that President Rodrigo Duterte forged, Cayetano is supposed to serve as Speaker for 15 months or until October, followed by Velasco.
Under Cayetano's leadership, House members worked even during the Congress break and the chamber's approval rating spiked, said Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte.
"The supermajority of congressmen now would like Speaker Alan Cayetano to continue," he told ANC. "I feel if it comes to a vote, supermajority of congressmen will vote for him to be Speaker."
Duterte, in a meeting with Congress leaders on Wednesday, remarked cryptically: "Kawawa naman si Lord (pitiful Lord)."
“For me, personally when he says that… [it means] Alan should continue and kawawa naman si Lord na hindi siya makaka-take over,” said Villafuerte.
(Alan should continue and Lord is pitiful because he won't be able to take over.)
Villafuerte also alleged that Velasco "was never really active in Congress" after the 15-21 term-sharing deal was announced.
"He should have been active and partnered with the Speaker in working in Congress. I haven’t seen or heard Cong. Lord be active in any major issue. We don’t see him in Congress. It was really his choice not to be the presumptive Speaker," he said.
The House power struggle made headlines this weekend after the President's son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, reportedly said he would declare Cayetano's post vacant on Monday to pave the way for the election of a new Speaker due to bickering over the 2021 national budget.
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Duterte denied the reports and Cayetano kept the Speakership on Monday.
Cayetano enjoys a "good" relationship with Duterte who has a lot of influence over lawmakers especially those from Mindanao, said Villafuerte.