By Ben Rosario
Efforts to have Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco patch up differences have remained fruitless and could endanger the realization of their term-sharing agreement for the speakership, it was gathered Saturday.
A proposed meeting between Cayetano and Velasco has yet to be finalized although the incumbent speaker is already set to meet Velasco’s PDP-Laban partymates this week.
Cayetano and Velasco had a falling out after the former discovered an alleged plot by the latter to stage a coup d’etat to oust the speaker months before he is to turn over the post to the Marinduque lawmaker.
“It would be better for all members of Congress if both of them will have a meeting to resolve all the issues so that there will be peace and unity in Congress,” said PDP-Laban spokesman and Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel.
Pimentel has denied that Velasco and his PDP-Laban partymates have made an attempt to unseat Cayetano, saying that there is no logic in doing this.
The senior administration lawmaker pointed out that Velasco is just six months away from replacing Cayetano under the so-called Magellan formula of term-sharing for the speakership.
Aside from the accusations hurled by Cayetano, another reason that has blocked a Cayetano-Velasco meeting from pushing through is the incumbent speaker’s insistence that all 80 congressmen holding key posts in the Lower House be retained once a change of leadership takes place in November.
Cayetano had insisted that retaining the current chairmen and representatives to special legislative bodies is a pledge made by Velasco when the speaker started his term.
According to the speaker, Velasco had contemplated at replacing Cavite Rep. Abraham Tolentino as chairman of the Committee on Public Accounts as soon as he takes over the speakership in November.
Cayetano said Tolentino was expected to be replaced by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Salvador Leachon once Velasco becomes the speaker.
Tolentino had been rumored to have made a decision to bolt PDP-Laban and swear in as member of the National Unity Party, which has joined Cayetano’s party, the Nacionalista Party, in supporting the current speaker’s leadership.
PDP-Laban, the most dominant political party in the Lower House, has been bleeding of membership as many have abandoned it to join NUP and the Lakas-CMD under Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.