House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco is offering his predecessor Taguig-Patero Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano a position in the chamber in what could be interpreted as a reconciliatory move.
“He’s (Cayetano) the former speaker, and I truly believe that he deserves the position,” Velasco told reporters after the House approved the P4.5-trillion 2021 national budget late Friday.
“He can choose either a committee chairmanship or a deputy speaker position,” he added.
Velasco said he would personally communicate the offer with Cayetano during the recess of Congress.
With the House having 22 deputy speakers, Cayetano can still become a voice to be heard in the lower chamber. Also, any of the deputy speakers can perform the duties of House leader in the absence of the Speaker.
Cayetano last week said he and his allies would work with the current House leadership while Velasco promised that no major changes would take place in leadership posts in the lower chamber.
Velasco, however, explained that there are lawmakers who held more leadership positions that is unfair to those who have leadership skills but have no major position in the lower chamber.
He added that Congress must be united with the country still recovering from the coronavirus disease crisis.
Cayetano earlier stressed though that there should be no changes in the leadership posts in the House based on “palabra de honor” (word of honor) under the term-sharing agreement President Rodrigo Duterte brokered at the start of the 18th Congress. Under the accord, Cayetano was to be speaker for 15 months and Velasco for 21 months.
Velasco, however, made some changes in leadership positions in the chamber after he was elected Speaker.
Last week, Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, a close ally of ousted House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, questioned changes made to a few key positions in the lower chamber, with him being one of those affected.
Specifically, the House of Representatives named two new deputy speakers.
1-PACMAN party-list Rep. Michael Romero, a known ally of Velasco, was reinstated as deputy speaker less than two weeks after he was removed from the post by then Speaker Cayetano. Romero replaced Villafuerte.
Meanwhile, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte’s slot as deputy speaker was given to another Velasco ally, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon.
Rep. Duterte was elected as the chairman of the House committee on accounts on Tuesday. (sovereignph.com)