No more term-sharing? Palace says Duterte's hands tied unless Velasco has numbers

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 22 2020 01:49 PM

President Rodrigo Duterte is hopeful that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will honor their term-sharing agreement for the leadership of the House of Representatives. File

MANILA-- President Rodrigo Duterte is hopeful that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will honor their term-sharing agreement for the leadership of the House of Representatives, Malacañang said Tuesday following reports that most congressmen want Cayetano to stay at the helm despite the deal.

While President Duterte hopes that the two lawmakers will keep their word over the deal he brokered, his spokesperson Harry Roque noted that the chief executive's hands are tied if Velasco doesn't have the support of the majority in Congress.

"The President is hoping that the Speaker (Cayetano) and Cong. Velasco will honor their agreement but ultimately the decision will be the decision of the individual congressmen," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.

"He's hoping na tutupad sa usapan ang partido pero kung wala pong numbers si Cong. Lord Allan eh wala po siyang magagawa," he added.

(He's hoping that the party will keep its word but if Cong. Lord Allan doesn't have the numbers, he can't do anything.)

In a meeting with Congress leaders last week, Duterte was reported to have cryptically quipped: "Kawawa naman si Lord."

(Poor Lord)

Duterte last year 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.

Under the agreement, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for 15 months set to expire in October, followed by Velasco for 21 months.

The term-sharing deal however was put in question after rumors swirled over the weekend of a looming coup to unseat Cayetano. 
The rumors were put to rest on Monday when the day ended with Cayetano still at the helm of the House.

On Tuesday, House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte claimed that a supermajority of congressmen want Cayetano to stay at the helm despite the term-sharing deal.