No issues with Cayetano, but gentleman's agreement must be enforced: Salceda

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 12:07 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2020 12:09 PM

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MANILA - A lawmaker present at a meeting among Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco's allies said Monday he does not have issues against incumbent Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, but the gentleman's agreement between the two must be enforced.

Cayetano and Velasco were supposed to share the House leadership in a deal brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte last year. Cayetano was supposed to lead for the first 15 months, and Velasco in the last 21 months of the 18th Congress.

At least 167 lawmakers have signed a manifesto seeking to have the Speaker post declared vacant this Monday, October 12, Salceda said.

"Wala naman akong kontra kay Speaker Cayetano…Nagkataon lang na there’s a gentleman’s agreement and the challenge that there should be a majority support for Velasco is being empirically and fundamentally met," Albay Rep. Joey Salceda told ANC's Headstart.

(I don't have anything against Speaker Cayetano...It just so happened that there's a gentleman’s agreement and the challenge that there should be a majority support for Velasco is being empirically and fundamentally met.)

Salceda is part of the PDP-Laban Party, where Velasco is also a member. He is present at the meeting among Velasco allies at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City.

"Clarifying who should be speaker by way of majority vote will make legislation faster and ensure that the agenda of the President, especially his SONA (State of the Nation Address) priorities, will be approved," he said.

Salceda said Duterte's call for a special session from October 13 to 16 is a "repudiation about the process, about the suspension." 

The House passed the General Appropriations Bill on second reading after a motion by Cayetano on Tuesday last week. Sessions were subsequently suspended until November 16.

In a proclamation, Duterte called for a special Congress session from Oct. 13 to 16 "to resume the congressional deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget and to avoid any further delays on its prompt passage," said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque.

The same proclamation certified the ₱4.5-trillion proposed national budget bill as urgent. Bills certified as urgent are exempt from a rule requiring lawmakers to study the measure for at least 3 days before voting on it.