MANILA - Incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano is fighting for his personal interest and ambition to be President in 2022 in the ongoing leadership tussle at the House of Representatives, his rival said Friday.
Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who was supposed to succeed Cayetano under a term-sharing agreement, said he will insist on the deal as brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
"We have to show the public na pag may salita tayo, tinutupad natin ito. We are called ‘Honorables’ because we keep our honor. Kailangan, pag nagbibitiw tayo ng salita, tinutupad natin," he told ANC's Headstart.
"Ang kinakalungkot ko lang sa panahon ngayon, parang I don’t know what Speaker Cayetano is fighting for. Ang tingin ko talaga he’s fighting for his own personal interests," he said.
House sessions were suspended until November 16 after the 2021 budget was approved on second reading upon Cayetano's motion. The supposed leadership transition was set on Oct. 14, according to Velasco.
Velasco believes Cayetano's camp sought the suspension of the plenary session "because he does not have the numbers" to keep himself in the post.
"Akalain mo ba namang guluhin niya 'yung buong budget process. Why? Because out of fear. I think Speaker Cayetano is doing everything just to be able to achieve his ambition, his personal ambition and interest na maging presidente ng 2022," said Velasco.
"Inuuna niya muna ang kaniyang political survival before the survival of our country," he said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic and the spending bill that was drafted in response to it.
In a Facebook live video on Thursday, Cayetano said "politics" and "saboteurs" forced him to suspend sessions ahead of schedule.
He also apologized to the Senate after he said that senators would be to blame in case the passage of the 2021 national budget is delayed, but insisted that the delay in the time frame will only be "one day."
President Duterte on Thursday night asked lawmakers to refrain from any political “play” that would imperil the approval of the 2021 budget.
“Either you resolve the issue sa impasse n’yo d’yan and pass the budget legally, constitutionally. ‘Pag hindi n’yo ginawa, ako ang gagawa para sa inyo,” Duterte said in a taped public address.