Deputy speakership offer to Cayetano still stands: Velasco

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2020 11:40 PM | Updated as of Oct 17 2020 04:41 AM

MANILA (UPDATE)- Following his ouster as House Speaker, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano can still be appointed deputy speaker as offered earlier, Marinduque Rep. and new House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said Friday.

"He’s the former Speaker and I truly believe that he deserves the position," he told reporters.

"He can choose either a committee chairmanship or a deputy speaker position," he added.

Velasco said he still has to offer it to the Taguig lawmaker personally.

Velasco clarified he's not yet making major changes on committee chairmanships or deputy speakerships in the House as he wants "unity and harmony within the members."

"So during the recess, we will still check the committee memberships kasi sometimes we see na mayroong parang mas maraming nakukuhang positions na medyo hindi naman fair sa iba. So we will just see kung mayroon namang unfair na mga appointments doon sa mga ibang committees, pero pag wala naman, then they will just remain the same," he said.

But just within the first week of Velasco’s speakership, he replaced Cayetano’s allies in key positions at the House of Representatives with his own.

Among them, 1-Pacman Party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, who was re-elected Deputy Speaker, replacing Camarines Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte, a close ally of Cayetano. Presidential son and Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte also replaced Cayetano ally and Cavite 8th District Rep. Abraham Bambol Tolentino as chair of the plum House Committee on Accounts.

Quezon 4th District Rep. Angelina Helen Tan, a supporter of Velasco also regained the chairmanship of the House Committee on Health. Another Velasco ally, Ilocos Sur 2nd District Rep. Kristine Singson-Meehan, was elected vice chair of the House Committee on Accounts.

Last Wednesday, Cayetano urged Velasco not to mess with the House leadership posts, invoking their "gentleman's agreement", which he himself had earlier tried to defy.

Cayetano announced last Tuesday his “irrevocable resignation” minutes after lawmakers ousted him from the chamber’s top post. Some 186 lawmakers elected Velasco as their new leader.

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He apologized to President Rodrigo Duterte, who brokered the term-sharing deal in 2019, claiming that he thought he was supposed to remain as Speaker until the proposed 2021 national budget was passed.

In wake of arguably one of the most controversial power struggles in Philippine politics, Velasco said that after talking things through with Cayetano and Duterte, the Taguig lawmaker has his gratitude.

"Sinabi ko nga na, I am extending my healing hand kay former Speaker Cayetano and I did. At again nagpapasalamat ako kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte, he was there again to mediate between the two of us, at he patched things up. Kaya ako po ay natutuwa at nagpapasalamat kay Pangulo at kay former Speaker Cayetano," he said.-- Reports from Vivienne Gulla and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News