A big number of congressmen were turned off by the events that unfolded at the Batasang Pambansa plenary hall Wednesday when Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano offered to resign his post, only to swiftly win it back through voting.
Several House members were quick to surmise that the whole incident was “scripted” and meant mainly to give Cayetano a reason to renege on his vow to President Duterte to abide by the term-sharing agreement for the speakership.
“Speaker Cayetano’s resignation offer was a waste of legislative time and an abuse of privilege. He could have done it on Facebook,” said PBA partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles.
Staunch Cayetano critic and Buhay partylist Rep. LIto Atienza decried the plenary incident as a “scripted telenovela’’ mean to give him another reason to stay in his post.
“He blackmailed Congress and the whole country by again not following the agreement and resigning ahead of Oct.14,’’ said Atienza.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon said the “scheme was actually not to follow the term sharing agreement and President Duterte.”
Leachon said: “This is actually a political affront to the President.”
However, Leachon said the camp of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco remained hopeful Cayetano will still honor the “gentleman’s agreement” to step down on Oct. 14 and give the speaker’s post to Velasco.
“In our institution, this is called ‘palabra de honor’,” said Leachon. “His offer to resign was inappropriate.”
In a meeting with Duterte on Tuesday, Cayetano agreed to give up the speakership on Oct. 14, the targeted date for the House approval of the 2021 national budget.
As provided for by the gentleman’s agreement that Duterte brokered, Velasco will take over and lead the House in the next 21 months.
In a television interview, Nograles said he did not participate in the Wednesday voting on a motion of Anakalusugan Rep. Mike Defensor proposing to reject Cayetano’s offer of resignation.
The party-list solon noted that there were many congressmen who did the same, apparently unhappy at the turn of events.
“You can ask everyone individually. You can see the numbers alone with 299 members, only 180 members responded to the poll and I think that is a very significant number,” said Nograles.
He stressed that resigning one’s post is a “personal choice and not of the body.”
“Absolutely, Cayetano did not resign. According to our rules, Speaker of the House of Representatives may resign and upon his resignation from the office creates an immediate vacancy,” Nograles explained.
A total of 184 congressmen backed Defensor’s motion but among those who supported it were Velasco allies who merely wanted Cayetano to give up the post on Oct. 14 and not earlier.