'Katawa-tawa, fake': Cayetano, ally reject Velasco's election as Speaker

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 05:38 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2020 05:53 PM

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano speaks before the budget deliberation at the House of Representatives in Quezon City on October 12, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and his ally on Monday rejected and mocked the election of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as House Speaker, calling it "katawa-tawa" (ridiculous) and "fake."

"Katawa-tawa. Mukhang sirkus po ang ginawa. Lawmakers kami [pero] lumalabas na law breakers sila... Niloloko nila 'yung tao," Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte told DZMM shortly after 186 lawmakers declared the position of House Speaker vacant, ousting Cayetano and installing Velasco to the chamber's top post.

The lawmakers gathered at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City with a version of the House mace, the symbol of the authority of the chamber which should be present during sessions.

Cayetano in a press briefing during the supposed session outside Batasan Pambansa, said what the lawmakers did was a "mockery."

"Sobang kalokohan ang ginawa nila. They can give all the legislative, legal justification for what they did. But you know in your hearts that it's simply wrong... May COVID ganon ang gagawin mo," said Cayetano. 

Villafuerte likewise branded his colleagues' move as "illegal," citing the location of the session and the absence of an "official" House mace. 

"Everything is fake, everything is illegal, everything is unconstitutional. Challenge ko sa kanila: Gawin niyo 'yan sa plenaryo kung may numero kayo. Kung may numero kayo we will accept, kung wala let's all work together to approve the budget. Iyan ang panawagan," he said. 

Velasco later disputed this and said there was precedence for House sessions being held outside of Batasan Pambansa.

"Noong nagkaroon tayo ng pagsabog ng Taal Volcano, the whole House went to... Batangas to hold a House session. [I]t’s the same. Under the rules, it is allowed. This wasn’t a sham session," Velasco said.

Villafuerte then urged Velasco's camp to name the 186 lawmakers who voted in favor of him as Speaker. 

Velasco assumed the position a day before Congress convened for a special session to resume deliberations for the proposed 2021 national budget. 

But according to Villafuerte, Tuesday's special session will still recognize Cayetano as House Speaker. 

"Well kami business as usual, budget. Kung manggulo sila, agawin nila yung mic, ibang usapan 'yan," he said.