Term-sharing deal not binding on House members: Fernandez

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2020 10:58 AM | Updated as of Oct 02 2020 05:34 PM

MANILA - Deputy Speaker Danilo Fernandez on Thursday said the term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco forged by the President is not binding on the members of the House of Representatives.

“We respect the decision of the President to somehow try to negotiate the term-sharing agreement. But the other members of the House, we are not bound by that agreement,” Fernandez said in an interview after majority of the House rejected Cayetano's resignation.

Welcoming the statement of the President that he would not interfere in the choice of leadership in the House, Fernandez said Velasco wanted to be the Speaker but never reached out to the lawmakers to get their support.

“Ang hindi nakita ni Lord Velasco eh merong 300 members of Congress (What Lord Velasco did not see is that there are 300 members of Congress). We are a collegiate body, and each and every member of the House has the right vote and choose his own leader, and that’s what we did,” he said.

Fernandez said this was the key difference in the “working style and attitude” between Cayetano and Velasco.

“The problem with Congressman Allan Velasco (is) he never reached out to each member of the House. Unlike Speaker Cayetano, when he was voted to be a Speaker for the 15-month agreement, he reached out to each and every one of us,” he said.

Fernandez also said Velasco’s absenteeism and failure to make his presence felt during debates in key legislative measures and investigations are among the reasons the majority of the House members lost their confidence and trust in Velasco’s capability to lead.

“He never worked with us. During the deliberations of the measures that we have approved, which were attended by the members of the Executive Department such as Bayanihan 1 and Bayanihan 2, as well as the different investigations that we have conducted, he was never there,” he said.

Fernandez said Velasco’s absenteeism was apparent when he was not around either at the floor or on the video conference app Zoom to defend himself from Cayetano.

“I assume wala rin yata siya kahapon sa Zoom, kaya hindi man lang siya nakapag interpellate at hindi man lang niya nadepensahan ang kaniyang sarili. That’s the problem with him eh. It’s not our fault kung nangyari sa kaniya ito,” he said.

(I assume he was not there even on Zoom, and that was why he couldn’t even interpellate and he couldn’t even defend himself. That’s the problem with him. It’s not our fault that this happened to him.)