By Genalyn Kabiling
The term-sharing deal in the House leadership is a gentleman’s agreement between House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco that should be followed, according to President Duterte.
The President said the term-sharing arrangement wherein Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first 15 months followed by Velasco was a “solemn” agreement.
“That was an agreement — a solemn agreement between the three of us. If you want to use the vernacular, ‘usapang lalaki’ ‘yon [it’s a gentleman’s agreement],” Duterte said in a media interview in Davao City last Saturday when asked if the term-sharing deal in House was still a go.
Duterte, who brokered the splitting of the three-year term of House Speaker between Cayetano and Velasco, noted that anyone who breaks the agreement would have to deal with the consequences.
“If anyone of them would not honor it, be it Lord Velasco or si Peter Cayetano, that would be his decision. But iyon, he has to take care that there is an agreement of sharing. If you violate it… Usapan ‘yan [That’s the agreement]” he said.
Asked if he was amenable if the term-sharing is discarded and Cayetano stays as House Speaker, Duterte said: “We should answer that question when we cross the bridge.”
For now, Duterte admitted that he was satisfied with the work of Cayetano as House leader. “Yes, of course. Sabi ko he is a shining star,” he said.
Last July, Duterte offered to help end the infighting in the speakership race by proposing the term-sharing between Cayetano and Velasco. The two lawmakers are known allies of the President.
Some lawmakers, however, reportedly said such an arrangement could be put aside amid Cayetano’s soaring public trust and approval ratings.