Duterte to meet with Cayetano, Velasco to solve House leadership impasse

Published September 29, 2020, 5:43 PM

by Ben Rosario

The leadership squabble affecting the House of Representatives is expected to be resolved Tuesday night with President Duterte hosting a caucus to be attended by  Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and their respective trusted allies.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte talks to the people after holding a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Malago Clubhouse in Malacañang on September 28, 2020.

President Duterte will be hosting the meeting in Malacanang to resolve controversies that threatened to derail the implementation of the term-sharing agreement for the speakership.

Under the gentleman’s agreement that Duterte brokered last year, Cayetano was to be allowed to sit as speaker of the Lower House in the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.

Velasco was to takeover the top Lower House post by October and continue to hold the post in the next 21 months.

Cayetano will be accompanied by Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez; Deputy Speakers Lray Villafuerte and Rodante Marcoleta, and Reps. Mikey Arroyo (Lakas-CMD-Pampanga); and Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (NUP, Bulacan).  His wife, Taguig City Rep. Lani Cayetano will also lend support for the incumbent speaker.

Tagaytay City Rep. Abraham Tolentino has been included in the Cayetano Team although he is a member of PDP-Laban.

On the other hand, the PDP-Laban media bureau revealed that Velasco, head of the ruling party’s House contingent, will  be with his “most trusted team” in the Palace meeting.

Team Velasco will be comprised of Rep. Kristine Singson, representing the Northern Alliance; Deputy Speaker and 1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Mikee Romero and AAMBIS OWA Rep. Sharon Garin of the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc; and Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano of the Visayas bloc.

The Nationalist People’s Coalition has authorized Reps. Mark Enverga of Quezon and Jack Duavit of Rizal to back Velasco in the caucus.

Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel of Surigao del Sur and Cong. Doy Leachon of Oriental Mindoro, both PDP-Laban executives, will be with Velasco.

“The assumption of Cong. Lord Velasco as House Speaker is a realization of the party’s major accomplishment of heading the lower chamber of the Legislative Department simultaneous with the incumbency of party’s honorary chairman Rodrigo Roa Duterte as President of the Republic of the Philippines,” PDP-Laban said in a press statement.

Both sides did not include anybody from the group of Deputy Speaker and Davao City Rep. Paulo Duterte, son of the President.

The young Duterte is considered a third force that wields its share of strong influence among members of the Lower House.

Just recently, Rep. Duterte threatened to move for a leadership change but the neophyte solon said he merely aired the threat as an expression of his disgust over budgetary issues affecting the chamber.

Cayetano later threw the blame of the coup threat to Velasco, saying that this was the “third and fourth time” the Marinduque solon plotted a move to oust him even before the term-sharing agreement could be completed by next month.