Velasco camp to declare Speaker seat vacant if Cayetano doesn't resign: lawmaker


Posted at Oct 02 2020 01:43 PM

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MANILA - The camp of Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will move to declare the House Speaker seat vacant if Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano does not resign from his current post on October 14, a lawmaker said Friday.

Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte last year, Cayetano was supposed to lead the House of Representatives for 15 months and Velasco for the remaining 21 months.

"They will pursue the 15-21 agreement and declare the position vacant and we will see how each and every congressman will decide: will they follow what the President suggested or not, and that will determine the fate of Congress in the next few years," AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin said when asked what will happen if Cayetano does not resign on October 14.

"If the majority wants to go against the advice of the President, then so be it. That’s how we decide, it’s a collegial body," she told ANC's Headstart.

Cayetano offered to resign during the House plenary session on Wednesday afternoon, but 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.

Despite this, Garin said the agreement is still valid because the President has not retracted his endorsement.

"His instructions were clear: you change the Speakership following the gentleman’s agreement of 15-21 and the President has not retracted," she said, recalling the meeting on Monday evening with Duterte on the enforcement of the deal.

"There was no condition to the President, whether you get the number or whether you’re the better performer—which I don’t want to dwell into," she said.

Garin, a member of the 50-member strong bloc of party-list representatives, said their group has been consistent: "We support the President’s speaker. Whoever the president supports, we support that candidate as speaker."