House members vote to keep Cayetano as Speaker

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 30 2020 05:41 PM

MANILA— Members of the House of Representatives on Wednesday rejected House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's "offer" of resignation in a swift move that came in the wake of reports that his term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco was to take effect in October.

"Apologies to Speaker Cayetano, pasensya na po but I reject your offer of resignation," Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Mike Defensor said as he moved for a nominal voting to formalize the rejection. 

After the count, majority of lawmakers voted "yes" to turn down Cayetano's resignation.

"With 184 yes, 1 negative vote, 9 abstentions, the motion to reject the resignation of House Speaker was hereby approved," a member of the House said. 

In his speech prior to announcing his resignation, Cayetano hit Velascos' alleged failure to show leadership at the House of Representatives.

Under the supposed "gentleman's agreement," Cayetano was to hand over the reigns of the House to Velasco after 15 months, which counts to October this year. Velasco, then, will serve for the remaining 21 months of the session. 

But weeks leading up to the scheduled change of leadership, Cayetano's camp asserted that it was not the time for Cayetano to step down, given deliberations on the crucial 2021 budget.

In his speech, Cayetano said that during their meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte Tuesday night, Velasco was adamant on taking over, even wanting to get the House helm on Sept. 30, Wednesday. 

This, Cayetano alleged, even as he and Duterte pleaded for Velasco to agree to delay the turnover to December for the sake of the national budget.