A senior lawmaker on Thursday agreed with the pronouncement of Malacañang that the speakership is a numbers game and going by the numbers, a “supermajority” of the lawmakers wanted Alan Peter Cayetano to stay on as speaker despite his term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“If the House will be left alone to decide the issue of the speakership, then I think Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will remain as the head of the House of Representatives,” Deputy Speaker and Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales III said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier said even if Duterte wanted the term-sharing agreement that he brokered to be honored, he could not do anything if the “supermajority” of the lawmakers wanted Cayetano to stay on.
Roque said the fate of the next House speaker will depend on the decision of the individual members of the House of Representatives.
Gonzales said Cayetano’s track record in handling the affairs of the House of Representatives and his experience in politics made Cayetano “well-loved and respected” by his colleagues.
“Speaker Alan has already shown his caliber of leadership,” Gonzales said.
He also said Cayetano’s close coordination with Cabinet secretaries and senators made it possible to push legislation through more quickly.
Gonzales said Cayetano has also “demonstrated his willingness to reach out with sincerity and concern to all members of the House.”
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Gonzales said, the House was more productive thanks to online sessions and other innovations.
Meanwhile, Rep. Florida Robes of San Jose del Monte City in Bulacan appealed to her colleagues not to be distracted by the ongoing issue on the change of leadership in connection with the alleged inequitable distribution of funds in congressional districts under the 2021 national government budget.
She said the House is in the middle of deliberations on the proposed 2021 budget.
“Next week, the House of Representatives will begin the daily rigorous plenary debates on the proposed budget. All talk about changing the leadership during this time when we are tackling a measure aimed at helping our countrymen recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are ill-timed. As representatives, we are duty-bound to serve the Filipino people by ensuring that we pass the proposed 2021 national budget on time,” she added.
She also praised the House leadership under Cayetano and Majority Leader Martin Romualdez for pushing the President’s legislative agenda.