Defensor sends message to Velasco as budget hangs in the balance

Published October 12, 2020, 7:18 AM

by Ellson Quismorio

Use your clout and influence to help pass the national budget, not to gain the House leadership.

Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

This was Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor’s appeal to Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco Sunday, after a reporter asked him to comment on a photo that was floating around in House-related Viber groups that same day.

The photo featured Velasco–smiling from ear to ear–and presidential daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte sharing a meal together in what appears to be a home setting.

“I am calling for all the supporters of Cong. Velasco, whatever clout, kung ano man ang impluwensiyang meron sila, gamitin nila ngayon para sa budget. Kasi iyan ang importante naming gagawin, hindi yung para sa leadership (whatever influence you have, use it now for the budget. Because that’s our important task right now, it’s not about the leadership issue),” Defensor said in a press conference over Zoom.

Defensor is one of the staunch allies of Velasco’s rival, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

Reports said that the Velasco camp–emboldened by Mayor Duterte’s intervention–is out to unseat Cayetano from the House’s top post this week once they are able to set foot in plenary. Velasco in recent weeks has slammed Cayetano for refusing to honor their term-sharing agreement for the Speakership, which President Duterte brokered last year.

On the other hand, Cayetano has claimed that the Marinduque solon and his followers have been causing trouble in the discussions of the all-important 2021 budget bill worth P4.506 trillion.