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‘Nakakahiya’

SPEAKER Alan Cayetano yesterday said the election of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the new Speaker was unconstitutional, goes against House rules and could be recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most abusive act in Philippine legislature.

Cayetano also said Velasco’s camp also broke the House rules by gathering outside despite the health and safety protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to the pandemic.

“Never in the history of the Philippines ganito kababoy ang ginawa sa Kongreso. Never. Nakakahiya,” Cayetano told reporters in an impromptu press conference at the Batasang Pambansa Complex held simultaneously with the gathering of Velasco’s camp outside Congress.

He warned Velasco and his camp not to create trouble in the budget deliberations on Tuesday.

“If you, Congressman Velasco, are bent on destroying and burning down the House, I can leave any time but I will not allow you to burn this House down. Remember that,” said Cayetano.

“I love this institution (House of Representatives). Ninety-eight nandito na ako. Marami na akong Goliath na kinalaban (I’ve been here since 1998. I’ve faced many Goliaths),” he said. “Kung ang gagawin niyo, ipapasa ang budget, magkakampi tayo. Ang gagawin niyo, papalitan lang ako, hindi ako hahadlang. But you try to burn this House down, you are in for one hell of a fight.”

“Kung valid ‘yun, banana republic na tayo. So you mean if I can somehow get 152 to meet in another country club tomorrow, ‘yung ipapasa ko d’un magiging valid? What if I meet in somewhere with 152 and pass a different budget, tatanggapin ng Senate ‘yung budget na ‘yun?” Cayetano.

“Hearing lang eh, tatlong araw before kailangan mong sabihin. So ‘yung magte-text-an lang isang barkada, gawin natin ‘to gawin natin ‘yan. So ganito na ang legislation ngayon? ‘Di ba? It’s silly,” he said.

He cited how the House had to file and approve a resolution to be able to hold a session in Batangas with victims of the Taal Volcano eruption in January.

Cayetano said neither the Supreme Court nor Malacañang will honor what took place at the Celebrity Sports Club in Quezon City.

“Never in the history of the Philippines ganito kababoy ang ginawa sa Kongreso. Never. Nakakahiya,” he added.

“Let’s respect the Constitution, have some decency in the politics naman. Pagtatawanan na naman ang Congress na ‘to eh,” he said.

“Remember, Congress is not a noontime show. Congress is not here for entertainment. Congress is not a circus. This is the House of the People,” Cayetano said.

Deputy Speaker Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, a loyal ally of Cayetano and a former House Majority Leader, tagged as “illegal session” the Velasco event at the Celebrity Sports Complex, stressing the group was not authorized by the plenary to hold session.

Gonzales explained that House sessions are suspended until November 16, and “there is no authority from Plenary to reconvene today (Monday).”

“Unlike in the Batangas session, there is no plenary Resolution authorizing to hold session in any other place other than in the Plenary in Batasan, contrary to the Constitution,” Gonzales added.

“These prove that what they are doing is clearly a rump and illegal session where the Rules of the House will not apply and can not be used,” Gonzales said, adding that both old and official maces to put legitimacy to the process are with the House Sergeant at Arms.

However, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, a supporter of Velasco, told lawmakers during the Velasco event that the mace is “only symbolic.”

“It can’t take precedence or authority over physical warm bodies of majority and those attending via digital platform,” Rodriguez said.