Palace: Aspiring Speakers just want power
Lawmakers who have locked horns to be Speaker only want "power", Malacañang said Monday, as the country's pandemic war chest hit a possible snag due to the tussle for the top post at the House of Representatives.
President Rodrigo Duterte is not siding with either Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano or Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who have a term sharing deal, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Malinaw po ang sinabi ni Presidente: Dala na siya. Isantabi na ang pulitika, budget muna," Roque told reporters.
(The President's statement is clear: he is fed up. Set aside politics, pass the budget first.)
"Dala na po siya dahil wala pong tigil ang pulitika d'yan sa Kamara. Ang gusto lang pareho, lahat ng gustong maging Speaker ay kapangyarihan. Paano naman ang bayan?"
(He is fed up because the politics at the House is non-stop. Both, all who want to be Speaker just desire power. How about the country?)
Worries over the possible delayed approval of the 2021 budget surfaced after Cayetano last Tuesday moved to pass the spending bill on second reading and abruptly suspend session until Nov. 16, just before Velasco is supposed to take over the House leadership.
Under the "gentleman's agreement" that Duterte brokered last year, Cayetano is supposed to serve until this month, followed by Velasco for the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress.
If lawmakers fail to pass the 2021 budget by Dec. 31, the government will rely on a reenacted 2020 spending plan, which lacks provisions for all programs to address the COVID-19 crisis.
Duterte has certified the budget as urgent and called on Congress to hold a special session from Oct. 13 to 16.
As of Sunday, the Philippines has recorded 339,341confirmed coronavirus infections, of which 39,945 are active cases.