(From L-R: President Rodrigo Duterte, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco). (File photos)
MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte has called for a meeting with speakership rivals Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco this noon, Malacañang said Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed the meeting in a statement issued to reporters.
“This is to confirm that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has called Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for a meeting at 12:30 p.m. in Malago (Clubhouse) today regarding the passage of the 2021 budget,” he said.
Duterte’s meeting with the two lawmakers came after he appealed to Congress to set politics aside and focus on the timely passage of the proposed PHP4.5 trillion national budget for 2021.
According to Roque, Duterte no longer wanted to be involved in the speakership row, which could possibly derail the passage of the proposed budget.
“Any talk of speakership will delay the passage of the 2021 budget,” he said in a press briefing on Monday, adding that Duterte did not care who would sit as Speaker.
Duterte, through Proclamation 1027, called on the Congress to hold a special session from Oct. 13 to 16 to “resume the congressional deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget and to avoid any further delays on the prompt passage thereof in accordance with the Constitution and applicable laws, rules, and regulations”.
On Monday, 186 lawmakers voted to elect Velasco as the new Speaker in a session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City, ousting incumbent Cayetano.
An hour after, Cayetano’s office released a manifesto showing 200 lawmakers backing his continued leadership.
Cayetano’s manifesto contains 200 signatories out of the 299-member House. However, 186 lawmakers voted to elect Velasco.
This means that there are lawmakers who voted to elect Velasco also signed Cayetano’s manifesto.
Last Sept. 30, Cayetano offered to resign even if he was expected to remain as Speaker until Oct. 14 as part of his term-sharing agreement with Velasco.
His move was rejected by the majority of House members.
It was Duterte who brokered a term-sharing agreement in 2019 where Cayetano would serve as the Speaker until October 2020 while Velasco would supposedly take over and assume the position until the 18th Congress ends in 2022. (PNA)