MANILA – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday challenged Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to issue a categorical statement that he will not change the standing committee chairmanships at the House of Representatives once the latter assumes the top post in the chamber.
In a press conference, Cayetano said it was part of the term-sharing deal to keep the committee chairpersons and other leadership posts amid the change in the speakership.
“Ang challenge ko lang sa kanya, mag-make categorical statement na kapag naging Speaker ka na, wala kang aalisin sa kahit sinong officer, leadership at chairperson. Kasi kapag sinabi niya yun, eh di tahimik na rin kami (My challenge to him is to make a categorical statement that when he becomes the Speaker, he would not remove any officer, leadership, and chairperson. Because if he says that, we would also keep quiet about it),” Cayetano said.
“Pero kung hindi niya sasabihin yun tapos umiikot siya, nangangako ng chairmanship, siya ang nag-create ng instability sa atin (If he does not make that statement and he goes around promising chairmanships, he is the one creating instability here),” he added.
Cayetano earlier bared that Velasco has already been offering chairmanships and funding allocations for congressmen in an alleged attempted coup.
Cayetano also made good of his warning to remove committee chairmen who have been plotting to “sabotage” the budget to push forward their preferred Speaker, as the major leadership shakeup at the chamber led to the removal of Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as House appropriations committee chairperson and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon as chairman of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga claimed Cayetano lost his trust and confidence in Ungab following reports that congressmen are restive over a Budget department’s circular that classifies funds for lawmakers’ projects for later release and subject to certain conditions.
Meanwhile, Leachon argued that the “self-created scenario” of an alleged House coup would only provide Cayetano a reason not to honor his term-sharing agreement with Velasco as brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte in July 2019.
The term-sharing deal allows Cayetano to serve until October 2020, and let Velasco take over and assume the speakership until 2022.
Velasco has dismissed as “baseless” and “sly innuendos being peddled by certain camps with vested interests” the supposed coup plan to change the speakership at the House.
Velasco said he would continue to honor the 15-21 term-sharing agreement, adding that he never had any intention of “reneging” on the deal. (IA/PNA)