'Ang gulo nito': Lawmaker warns of trouble if Cayetano defies Duterte

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2020 08:58 AM | Updated as of Oct 01 2020 09:49 AM

Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - A lawmaker warned Thursday that there would be trouble if Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano decides to stay at his post instead of honoring a term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco in defiance of President Rodrigo Duterte's wishes.

Speaking to ANC's Headstart, PBA Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles said the President had already made clear that he wants the term-sharing deal with Velasco to push through.

A source from the Velasco camp earlier said the Marinduque congressman will take over as Speaker of the House of Representatives on Oct. 14, after Cayetano and Velasco met with the President Tuesday night.

Asked what would happen on October 14, Nograles said: "I would suppose the resignation of Speaker [Alan Peter] Cayetano should push through. Otherwise, if Speaker Cayetano does defy President Duterte as political leader, simply put, ang gulo nito."

The party-list lawmaker said majority of congressmen recognize President Duterte as the political leader of a "super coalition" composed of various political parties and groups in the House of Representatives.

Asked about the possibility of the congressmen rejecting Cayetano's resignation, he said: "We will have to see how the congressmen will react, if Speaker Cayetano was able to rally members of Congress to go against the President's wishes. There's no other way of looking at it...If they go against the wishes of the President, that is a very, very, very bad sign."

Cayetano on Wednesday afternoon took the House plenary floor to offer his resignation a day after meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte on the enforcement of a term-sharing deal with Velasco.

Immediately after his nearly hour-long speech, allies moved to reject his offer and the plenary voted viva voce. A later nominal voting saw 184 lawmakers elect to keep him as Speaker. One voted in the negative while 9 others abstained.

Nograles, however, said Cayetano's offer to resign and the plenary's vote to reject it has no actual effect except a delay in the chamber's 2021 budget deliberations.

Rules of the House of Representatives does not mention an "offer of resignation," as stepping down from any post is "a personal choice" and is "not up to the body and not up Congress and the plenary to decide on," he said.

"The effect of that is nothing in our rules. Walang katuturan, ibig sabihin, yung whole thing na nangyari kahapon. The only effect of what happened is the suspension of the deliberation on the 2021 budget," he said.

Nograles said he did not participate in the voting "because I found it a little absurd to vote on an offer to resign." He said he may not be the only one to think this, as only 194 out of 299 lawmakers voted.

Even those who voted to keep Cayetano in his post may not indicate inclination to forget the turnover to Velasco, he said.

"I would say that Congress as a collegiate body agrees and supports the stand of the supermajority. And the stand of the supermajority is Cayetano remains up to October 14," he said.

Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by Duterte last year, Cayetano leads the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, while Velasco will assume Speakership for the last 21 months.

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