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200 solons support Cayetano, sign manifesto

House of Representatives

A TOTAL of 200 members of the House of Representatives signed a manifesto showing their support for House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano amid the move to unseat him in favor of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

“Following the President’s call for individual members of the House of Representatives to vote freely and without reservation on who we wish to lead this chamber, we the undersigned hereby manifest our full and unequivocal support for the continued leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano,” the lawmakers said in the manifesto released by the House leadership.

The manifesto was released after Velasco, claiming he had 186 votes from other House members, was “sworn in” as Speaker in a supposed session held at the Celebrity Sports Complex on Monday.

Velasco’s camp claimed that the 186 votes constitute a majority in the 297-member House, but the 200 lawmakers who signed the manifesto for Cayetano showed that the majority is still with the House Speaker.

In signing the manifesto, the 200 lawmakers said they were declaring their “common desire to heed the call of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the entire nation for the swift passage of the 2021 national budget that is relevant and responsive to the needs of our people as we face this crossroads of history.”

“We likewise join the call of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and the leadership of the House of Representatives for unity and cooperation among our colleagues in all priority legislation that are in line with the efforts of the Duterte administration in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and providing a safe, prosperous, and comfortable life for all,” they said.

The lawmakers said they believe Cayetano’s resignation as Speaker on September 30 had in effect rendered the term sharing agreement between him and Velasco “moot and academic” as the majority had already spoken.

“We therefore call on Congressman Velasco to respect the collective desire of his peers to allow the continuation of Speaker Cayetano’s exemplary leadership,” they said.

The 200 lawmakers thanked the President for his “valiant attempts… to resolve the matter amicably among the parties concerned” but noted “with grave concern” Velasco’s “numerous rejections of the President’s request to allow Speaker Cayetano the time to finish the budget by December 2020 before implementing the change as an act unbecoming of someone who wants to lead this chamber.”

They also reaffirmed their commitment to the people “to do what is right and stand up for the honor” not just of Cayetano but of the entire House.

“We forge this agreement with you, our fellow citizens, to uphold your best interest against the pressures of partisan politics and personal interests,” they said.