Velasco assumes top House position as Cayetano resigns as Speaker

Majority of the members of the House of Representatives adhered to the term-sharing agreement between Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and installed the former as Speaker in a plenary session boycotted by Cayetano supporters on Tuesday morning.

Velasco assumes top House position as Cayetano resigns as Speaker
Presumptive Speaker Lord Allan Velasco sits at the rostrum ahead of the special session on the proposed 2021 national budget following his election yesterday. Photo from Rep. Aglipay
A total of 186 congressmen, more than 60 percent of the 299-member House, voted to ratify the election of Velasco, which was held first at Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday afternoon.

The congressmen ratified Velasco's assumption to office at the House Plenary Hall ahead of the scheduled resumption of the session at 3 p.m. to tackle the 2021 national budget.

In July 9019, President Rodrigo Duterte brokered a gentlemen's agreement between Velasco and Cayetano over the speakership. The agreement gave Cayetano, who wanted to act as the Speaker during the opening of the 18th Congress, the first 15 months of the term with Velasco leading the chamber in the last 21 months. 

Cayetano's 15 months lapsed in September but he refused to honor the agreement, saying: “I still want to be the speaker when I celebrate my 50th birthday on October 28.”

Tuesday's session was presided by Cayetano-appointed Deputy Speaker Conrado Estrella of the party-list group Abono.

Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc , a deputy majority leader, moved that nominal voting be conducted to ratify the election of Velasco as Speaker.

In his acceptance speech, Velasco urged his colleagues to immediately pass pending important bills, particularly the proposed 2021 national government budget.

In a social media post also on Tuesday morning, Caytano said he was tendering his “irrevocable resignation" as Speaker. He said he will work to shepherd the passage of the 2021 national budget in the chamber but he did not explain in what capacity.

Addressing Velasco, Cayetano said: “Pasensya ka na hindi ako sumusuway pero kailangan ko tapusin ang pag-pasa sa (I am sorry, I am not disobeying but I need to finish the passage of this) budget.“

Cayetano said he accepted defeat and is "happy" for the new speaker but stressed  "(but it is my) commitment na tapusin itong (to finish this) budget bill na sinimulan (deliberations for which have started)." 

He also apologized to his supporters and staff, and thanked the President for the opportunity to be Speaker of the House.

Cayetano, his wife Lani and some congressmen stayed at his home in Taguig while he was being unseated.

But Velasco supporter, Rep. Jericho Nograles said the Irrevocable resignation of Cayetano as Speaker through Facebook live is not in order "as he was no longer Speaker as of yesterday Monday 12 October 2020." 

"The Rule of the House on vacancy is very clear. A vacancy exists in the case of death, resignation, permanent incapacity, or a nominal vote by majority of the Members that such seat is vacant. Therefore, Cong. Alan Peter Cayetano was no longer Speaker due to a vacancy voted upon by 186 Members yesterday 12 October 2020. The Facebook Live resignation is not in order," said Nograles.

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