Duterte feels duped by Cayetano

Published October 9, 2020, 4:27 PM

by Ben Rosario

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano earned the ire of President Duterte for making a fool of the Chief Executive and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco when the House leader vowed to resign his post on Oct. 14.

Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (FACEBOOK / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Interviewed at ANC Headstart, Velasco said Duterte was furious over the series of moves made by Cayetano that were aimed at giving the speaker a reason to renege on the commitment he made to Duterte and Velasco during a meeting in Malacanang two weeks ago.

But what apparently broke the camel’s back as far as Duterte is concerned was that in Cayetano’s bid to hold on to the speakership, the timely passage of the P4.5-trillion national budget for 2021 was threatened.

“Kitang kita ko ‘yung galit ng Pangulo. Sabi sa akin ni Pangulo, ‘Lord, hindi lang ikaw ang napahiya rito, tayong dalawa (The president was visibly angry. He told me: ‘Lord, both of us were put to shame),” Velasco said.

Velasco said the President used the Filipino term “nadenggoy” or duped to describe what Cayetano had done to them.

 Duterte made a surprise television announcement Tuesday  to ask congressmen not to allow the leadership squabble affect the passage of the proposed 2021 General Appropriations Act.

He hinted that  Cayetano’s motion for an abrupt second reading passage of the budget measure could be questioned for being unconstitutional.

Cayetano and his allies passed the proposed GAA Tuesday then declared an early suspension of plenary until Nov. 16.

Senators and senior congressmen warned that what Cayetano did was unconstitutional. 

Economic managers and the business community also warned that it could delay the passage of the spending plan designed to strengthen the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, and may lead to a reenacted budget

House members assailed the decision as a clear violation of their right to interpellate and fiscalize the budget process.

The Velasco camp accused Cayetano’s antics as being part of his bid to cling to the speakership as it prevented those opposed to his leadership to seek a democratic process of voting for a new speaker.

Velasco said he understood Duterte’s frustration because during their Sept. 29 meeting in Malacañang together with Cayetano and Sen.  Christopher “Bong” Go, the President asked Cayetano to resign on Oct. 14 and the Taguig solon agreed.

Velasco reiterated his appeal to Cayetano to reopen the session and resume the budget deliberations to enable the House to adhere to Duterte’s request to pass the budget on time and do it legally and constitutionally.

“The President’s message last night was loud and clear. Kitang-kita natin na he just wants the budget to be passed on time; not just on time ang gusto ng Pangulo, it has to be constitutional, it has to be legal,” Velasco said.

The lawmaker disclosed that a resolution seeking the resumption of the plenary session is now going around among House members.

“There is a resolution going around among us congressmen that we resume session already because the only way we pass the budget on time is if we resume the session,” Velasco said.