Malacañang said today that nothing is more important now for President Duterte than the timely passage of the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021, especially now that the House of Representatives seemed to have settled the leadership dispute in their turf.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after members of the House of Representatives voted to reject Cayetano’s offer to resign from his post as House Speaker, completely ignoring the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco which was brokered by the President himself.
Roque said Duterte met Cayetano and his immediate family of politicians in Malacañang on Wednesday evening where he told the House Speaker to make sure that the budget is passed on time.
“Ang bilin po niya kinakailangang mapasa talaga ang budget sa lalong mabilis panahon dahil nakapaloob po sa budget ang ating COVID-19 response (He told him that the proposed budget needs to be passed on time because it includes the budget for the government’s COVID-19 response),” he said.
“Tingin ko tapos na naman po ang controversy at ang talagang paulit-ulit na pakiusap ni Presidente kinakailangang mapasa ang ating (Now that the leadership row is settled, the President has been repeatedly reminding them that they need to pass the) COVID-19 budget on time,” he added.
According to Roque, Duterte met Cayetano, his wife Taguig Rep. Lani, and his sister Sen. Pia Wednesday night. This coincided with the President’s meeting with House Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva.
The Palace official added that Villanueva did not facilitate the President’s meeting with the Cayetanos, saying that Villanueva’s scheduled meeting with Duterte was made two weeks ago.
“Nagkataon lamang po na ang pangyayari sa Kamara kahapon ay nangyari doon sa scheduled meeting ni Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva at ng Presidente (It was just a coincidence that the President’s meeting with Bro. Eddie happened the same day as the developments in the House of Representatives),” Roque said.
“Pero ang main dahilan po doon ay para i-pray over ang ating Presidente na nangyari naman po (But Brother Eddie’s main reason for meeting the President is to have a pray over for the President and this happened),” he added.
Roque reiterated that the President will no longer interfere with the leadership row between Cayetano and Velasco.
“Inulit naman po ni Presidente na ang liderato — ang issue ng liderato sa Kamara de Representante — ay isang internal affair ng Kamara de Representante (The President reiterated that the House leadership issue is an internal affair of the House of Representatives),” he said.
“Nirerespeto naman po ng Presidente ang naging desisyon ng Kamara na ibinasura po ang pagre-resign ni Speaker Alan Cayetano (The President respects the decision of the members of the Lower House to keep Alan Cayetano as their Speaker),” he added.
Duterte met Cayetano and Velasco in Malacañang Tuesday to settle the House leadership row between the two.
It was reported that Duterte wanted both lawmakers to honor the deal that he brokered for them and that Velasco was supposed to take over as Speaker starting Oct. 14.
Cayetano and Velasco agreed last year to share the speakership, with Cayetano getting 15 months and Velasco 21 months.