Rejecting calls for unity, allies of House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco and the group of former speaker and Taguig City-Pateros 1st District Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano continuously trade barbs at the Lower Chamber.
Probinsyano Ako partylist Rep. Jose “Bonito” Singson lashed at Cayetano’s “BTS (Back to Service) sa Congress” coalition for acting as “spoiled brats” and for supposedly politicking.
“Honestly, they acted like self-entitled, petulant children during their little presscon. They kept on emphasizing that they will continue to work as Congressmen, despite losing their Committee Chairmanships and positions. Since when is this a pre-requisite to work?,” he said in a statement issued after Cayetano’s group held a presser in Quezon City.
“So taong bayan pa ang may utang na loob sa kanila dahil nagtratrabaho sila kahit wala silang special appointments? Talk about being spoiled brats!”
(So, it is the public who owes them because they are working even without special appointments? Talk about being spoiled brats!)
Joining Cayetano in the BTS bloc were six former leaders of the House of Representatives –Reps. Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte Jr, Camarines Sur 2nd District; Dan Fernandez, Laguna 1st District; Raneo Abu, Batangas 2nd District; Mike Defensor, Anakalusugan; Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, Bulacan 1st District; and Fredenil Castro, Capiz 2nd District.
“Moreover, who has a flair for being dramatic? Who likes to kneel in front of everyone, lie prostate whenever there are cameras, and name his little band of allies after a Korean boy band? So now, tell me who likes politicking?,” Singson said.
The so-called “cheap publicity stunt” and “political gimmickry” also did not sit well with Senior Deputy Speaker and Oriental Mindoro 1st District Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon, Deputy Speakers Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc of Pampanga 4th District, and Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves Jr. of Negros Oriental 3rd District.
Leachon described the launch of the BTS as “an obvious publicity stunt and gimmickry from someone who’s trying to revive his political career, which suffered a major setback after an overwhelming majority of House members ousted him from the top House post three months ago.”
He branded as “baseless and unfair” the accusations of Cayetano that under Velasco leadership, the Lower Chamber has become the “House of Politics” rather than the House of People.
Cayetano also accused the House leadership of being “lazy” and “trapo” or traditional politician.
“Sino ba ang talagang namumulitika? Sino ba ang hindi maka-move-on? Sino ba ang bitter?” Leachon asked.
(Who is really politicking? Who has yet to move on? Who is bitter?)
Leachon cited that during the last quarter of 2020—from October 12 to December 16, the House processed a total of 185 measures.
Of these, 26 were signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte, including the P4.506-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2021 and the laws extending the validity of funds appropriated through the Bayanihan to Recover as One or Bayanihan 2 and the 2020 GAA, he pointed out.
“Speaker Velasco is consistent—his trademark is that he works even away from the limelight. Not doing Facebook live or press conferences doesn’t mean he’s disinterested or sitting around doing nothing.”
The House leader said under Velasco leadership, the chamber also passed 86 national and local bills on final reading and 71 national and local bills on second reading.
Bondoc also disputed Cayetano’s claims. “The level of service that the House of Representatives provides has not waned in any way, shape or form,” he said.
“In fact, under the leadership of Speaker Velasco, the House is now more focused than ever and works efficiently without fanfare and the distraction of politics,” he added.
Teves turned the tables at Cayetano, saying that it was Cayetano “who didn’t want to have a full deliberation of all agencies for the national budget, which Speaker Velasco did and successfully finished the budget within the necessary period to ensure that it will not be reenacted.”
According to the House leader, Cayetano was nowhere to be found in the House when they were scrambling to expeditiously pass the 2021 national budget and all other priority measures of President Duterte.
“Pumasok ba si Cayetano sa Kongreso or may naging malaking kontribusyon siya simula nung palitan sya bilang Speaker?” Teves said.
(Did he go to Congress to work or does he have major contribution since he was replaced as Speaker?)
“Sino ngayon ang tamad?” (Now, who is lazy?)