Speaker’s term extension pushed, sharing deal shaky

A leader of the House of Representatives on Tuesday said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should just continue with his leadership beyond the 15 months he was given under a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.

READ: Solons urge Speaker: Honor term-sharing

Anakalusugan Party-list Rep. Michael Defensor, chairman of the House committee on public accounts, said he believes a leadership change is unnecessary, especially since the current leadership “is doing very well.”

“If the President is a basketball coach and Speaker Cayetano is a power forward, a small forward or a guard, and he’s doing very well in shouldering the scoring load, why would you bench him?” Defensor told the Ugnayan sa Batasan weekly news forum.

Cayetano earlier hinted that he would not honor the term agreement when his term expires and would instead ask President Duterte, as head of the administration coalition, if he shouldn’t just stay on the job.

READ: Cayetano: Scuttling of speakership deal up to Duterte

Under the term-sharing agreement brokered by Duterte, Cayetano would assume the post for 15 months while Velasco would occupy the post in the remaining 21 months.

Defensor said he has nothing personal against the other candidates for the speakership, “but it may be best for the country and for the realization of President Rodrigo Duterte’s legislative agenda if Cayetano will continue serving as the Speaker.”

Defensor said Cayetano’s 64 percent approval rating in a recent Pulse Asia survey showed the House leadership is doing very well.

“And I think for the best interest of the country, best interest of Congress, we should continue with the leadership of Speaker Alan Cayetano and the rest of the leadership of the House,” he added.

ACT-CIS Party-list Representative Eric Go Yap, chairman of House committee on games and amusements, said the term-sharing agreement was among the contenders and that all House members were not consulted about it.

“It is up to the House members whether they want a new Speaker, and it should be done through election,” Yap said.

Earlier, two members of the Makabayan bloc urged Cayetano to abide by his term-sharing agreement with Velasco.

Party-list Reps. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela and France Castro of ACT Teachers said that the agreement will be a sham if Cayetano stays on and will not give way to Velasco as part of the agreement that was brokered by President Duterte shortly before the 18th Congress convened.

“It’s a gentleman’s agreement, I hope they will abide by it,” Brosas said.

Castro said the pronouncement of Cayetano that he will have to consult with the President is an indication that he will not step down after his 15-month term.

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Topics: House of Representatives , Alan Peter Cayetano , Lord Allan Velasco , Rodrigo Duterte
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