MANILA - An ally of Presumptive Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday appealed to the incumbent leader of the House of Representatives to allow them to "do well" in the chamber, too.
On Monday, Velasco was installed as the House leader by 186 of his colleagues in a session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza, effectively booting out Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.
Pampanga Rep. Rimpy Bondoc, who served as floor leader in Monday's proceedings, said he holds Cayetano "in the highest regard" and he looks forward to working with him.
"You have held many position and you will hold many, many more higher positions. You have done much for the House. We hope that you’ll let us have our chance to do well in the House of Representatives for the country," he told ANC's Headstart.
The House reconvenes as a plenary on Tuesday in line with the call made by President Rodrigo Duterte for the speedier passage of the 2021 bill. Bondoc said he expects both Cayetano and Velasco to be "statesmen."
Asked what the Velasco camp will do if Cayetano insists on presiding over the session, Bondoc said: "The emperor has no clothes. He can act as if he were speaker, but if the body doesn’t follow him, if the general public, even the man on the streets understands, ‘Sir, hindi na po kayo, eh.’"
"We will work, we will do our best to pass legislations such as the budget. We hope he joins us, quite ridiculous if he doesn’t and I hope it doesn’t get to that," he said.
"He’s a friend, all the congressmen in his camp are friends. So we reach out, be part of the 186, let’s work. Let’s just work," he added.
Bondoc said he does not wish for Duterte to "have to anoint a speaker."
"Let him recognize us by recognizing our output, our work. We don’t want to put him to the trouble of having to say, like Solomon, let’s divide the child," he said.
Duterte brokered the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco at the start of the 18th Congress last year. Cayetano was supposed to lead the House for the first 15 months, and Velasco in the remaining 21 months.