MANILA - "Let us uphold the agreement as this was made 'FOR GOD AND COUNTRY 1521'."
Two days before Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is supposed to step down as leader of the House of Representatives, based on a 2019 term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, the latter is seeking for its enforcement.
"After all, it was an agreement brokered by and forged in the presence of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte... The first term expires on Sept. 30, after which, the second term immediately begins," Velasco said on his Facebook account.
"I have always intended to honor the agreement. We all should," he added.
Velasco accompanied his social media post with photos of himself, Cayetano, and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez apparently signing the 15-21 term-sharing deal.
His statement came as sources told ABS-CBN News he and Cayetano will meet Tuesday night in Malacañang Palace to discuss the agreement.
Cayetano met with the President's son, Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte, over the weekend which House budget committee chair Eric Yap described as a social call.
The younger Duterte earlier denied claims of a possible coup in the House after a text message from him made rounds that he would move to declare the Speakership vacant as lawmakers jockeyed over funding for their districts.
The Cayetano camp feels there is a reason to walk away from the agreement, after the Velasco camp allegedly planned 2 plots to oust the incumbent House leader, according to Laguna 1st District Rep. Dan Fernandez.
“Those groups wanted to make the leadership, especially Speaker, to look bad especially in the eyes of the President," Fernandez said.
This led to the issuance of the so-called Supermajority Coalition Manifesto of Support for Cayetano to remain as House Speaker, the deputy Speaker added.
“The budget will really be affected. Kaya, we decided to put up this manifesto because we wanted to continue yung vision niya," Fernandez said.
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. LRay Villafuerte, another ally of Cayetano, said lawmakers who did not sign the manifesto would not be affected.
“With regard to the question of whether there will be a revamp with respect to House leaders who did not sign the manifesto, no revamp or changes being talked about now because our attention and focus is to pass the 2021 budget on or before Oct. 15," Villafuerte said.
"Any future changes, if any, will be based on consultation and consensus with the House Leadership."
In asserting the enforcement of the term-sharing pact, Velasco said "leaders who are able to live up to their promises come hell or high water, leaders with palabra de honor who lead not with lip service, but who back up their words with action" are what the people yearn for "in this period of difficulty."
"As true leaders and as examples for our people, both sides are obligated to avoid situations or statements that would subvert the agreement and betray the trust of our people who’ve stood witness to the covenant," he said.
"Trust and honor are values that are important, especially in these trying times. They reveal our true character and show what we, as leaders, are truly made of," he added.