Lawmaker says he was muted during House vote on Cayetano resignation

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 05 2020 09:24 AM | Updated as of Oct 05 2020 09:58 AM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - A lawmaker on Monday said he was muted during a videoconference call as the House voted to reject Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's resignation, adding the proceeding should not have been recognized.

Negros Oriental 3rd District Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. posted on social media a video of him attempting to unmute his account as he raised a point of order, which he said was a "priority motion" that should be recognized no matter what.

"I am raising a point of order and they are muting me. I cannot unmute myself. This is a railroaded proceeding," Teves said in the video.

"With that, those proceedings should be null and void. Dapat hindi pwede 'yun (It should not be allowed)," he told ANC's Headstart.

"Panalo man or talo, gawin natin 'yung tamang proseso, bakit minamagic 'yung proseso? 'Yun ang question ko eh, magic eh."

Teves said he was going to question the chamber's quorum but House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez later told him some "299 congressmen are presumed or deemed present every time."

"Sabi nga nila quorum everyday dahil everybody daw is deemed present everyday. Halos hindi na ako pumapasok sa Zoom dahil kalokohan eh. You know I’ve always been active in Congress, I always speak when I need to speak and I speak my mind honestly and frankly," he said.

(They said it's quorum everyday because everybody is deemed present everyday, I almost never go into Zoom meetings anymore because it's nonsense.)

"But now we’re curtailed, we’re not allowed speak and then they continue with the proceedings. Foul 'yun eh dapat di pwede 'yun (It's foul, it should not be allowed)."

Teves said he would like to raise this issue with President Rodrigo Duterte, who last year forged a term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

Under the "gentleman's agreement," Cayetano will lead the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or until this month, while Velasco would assume leadership for the next 21 months. 

"It (House) may be an independent body but wala na rin akong ibang matakbuhan. Si Presidente naman ang pinakamalakas sa bansa natin, gusto ko sana makita niya na nire-railroad ang proceedings doon," he said.

(It may be an independent body but I have no one else to turn to, the President is the most powerful in the country, I want him to see the House is railroading proceedings there.)

When asked if he will declare the Speakership vacant on Oct. 14, the supposed day Velasco will assume the post, Teves said "Probably somebody will."

"I think so because 'yung iba dun naipit lang. Ang daming natatakot na mawalan ka ng budge. Nasubukan ko na 'yun eh," he added when asked if Velasco had the numbers to assume Speakership.

(I think so because some were just stuck with the decision. Many congressman fear having no budget, I have gone through it.)

In a budget hearing last month, Teves confronted the Department of Public Works and Highways about reports that Taguig City and Camarines Sur would get the largest slice of their budget. 

Cayetano and his wife Lani run 2 separate districts of Taguig while House Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte represents a district in Camarines Sur province, where his son Migz is governor. 

"Ang tanong ko lang bakit ang Taguig Pateros is getting almost P10 billion?" he said.

(My question is why is Taguig Pateros getting almost P10 billion?)

"Kung mali ako harapin nila ako. Alam mo never ako nagsisinungaling. Magharapan tayo. Nagdadada sila dyan, magsasalita ako dito. Sana magharapan kami sa kahit saang plaza sa Pilipinas, ayoko lang yung nagsisinungaling."

(If I'm wrong, they should confront me. I never lie. We should confront each other instead of them speaking there and me speaking here. We should confront each other in any plaza in the country, I just don't like liars.)