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Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Sara, discontent shift tide to Lord

The endorsement of the President’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, moved legislators to shift their support to newly elected Speaker Lord Allan Velasco from Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, one of Velasco’s allies said Wednesday.

At the same time, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon stressed the need for executive and legislative branches “to be aligned” to realize government programs.

Another Velasco ally said discontent over the alleged inequitable distribution of the proposed 2021 national budget led to the ouster of Cayetano.

Speaking to ANC’s “Matters of Fact”, Valenzuela City 2nd District Rep. Eric Martinez said: “What really triggered the greater part of [Cayetano’s] downfall in this battle for Speakership is the discontent of majority of congressmen with how funds for local district[s] are being managed or being spread.”

Along with it, Martinez said, were “the inequalities that [go] with it wherein a small group of congressmen were favored, who get more funds for their district compared to a greater majority.”

Asked what role Cayetano will play after being removed from the chamber’s helm, he said the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker could become part of the minority.

“The reading that I see is most probably Speaker Cayetano would go to the minority. [He] would be part of a genuine opposition in Congress. I think that would be healthy for us,” Martinez said.

Asked if Duterte-Carpio’s endorsement affected the decision of lawmakers, Leachon said: “Of course, we believe so. That’s been the history and tradition in the Philippines in all (political) transitions, even in the speakership race.”

“While we admit that under the Constitution, we have the independence of the three branches of the government, but then, to realize all the programs of government and the Executive (branch), the legislative department should be in line with that,” he added.

Leachon earlier said Duterte-Carpio and her political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago backed the enforcement of the speakership term-sharing deal that her father President Rodrigo Duterte brokered between Cayetano and Velasco.

Reports had said that the President’s daughter had begun calling congressmen Sunday to rally support for Velasco’s takeover, but Mayor Duterte-Carpio said “no comment” when asked about her purported move to support the Marinduque solon.

Leachon said the number of congressmen supporting Velasco ballooned to around 250 House members Tuesday, in time for the opening of the special session called by President Duterte to pass the 2021 national budget.

Martinez said the President’s statement prompted lawmakers to get their acts together.

“The President mentioned in a press conference the frustration. These are the words set, ‘Finish budget legally and constitutionally,’” he said.

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.

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