(Photo Courtesy: http://www.news.abs-cbn.com)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he told Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco that the lawmaker “had a right” to run as House Speaker, but did not say whether he would press Pateros-Taguig Rep. and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to give way to Velasco.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in a virtual press briefing on Tuesday that the embattled Velasco sought Duterte’s approval to run for the House leadership during a Monday night meeting that began at 10 p.m.

According to Roque, Duterte told Velasco it was his “right” to run for the House leadership, citing the term-sharing agreement they forged with Cayetano. But no more details could be revealed.

“I cannot give you more details other than, humingi po ng permiso si Congressman Lord Allan para tumakbo bilang Speaker at ang sagot po ng Presidente, ‘Karapatan mo ‘yan sang-ayon sa kasunduan ninyo ni kay Speaker Alan Cayetano’ (I cannot give you more details other than

Congressman Lord Allan Velasco asking permission to run for Speaker and the President’s answer was ‘That’s your right based on your agreement with Speaker Alan Cayetano’),” Roque said.

The presidential spokesman, however, could not confirm if Duterte is pushing for the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Cayetano.

“I will refrain from annotating what has been said,” Roque said. “I think people can make their own conclusions.”

It can be recalled that Duterte said last week that he would not interfere in the House Speakership issue.

Cayetano offered to resign on Wednesday last week but at least 180 lawmaker voted to reject it.

Velasco has lately claimed that he has the numbers to be voted as the next House Speaker, which has been debunked by Cayetano’s supporters.

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