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No change in House leadership

THERE is only one — and not two — Speaker of the House of Representatives and the Chamber’s leadership has not been changed because the session held by Velasco supporters in Quezon City is “fake” for being unconstitutional and is a dangerous precedent.

According to Speaker Peter Alan Cayetano the special session called by President Rodrigo Duterte will open tomorrow to tackle the 2021 budget which will be the focus of lawmakers and not the Speakership.

President Duterte’s marching orders are clear: work on the budget, which has nothing to do with the Speakership issue, and that is what the House session will do from October 13 to October 16.

“The House of Representatives will hold a proper, orderly session tomorrow. The budget bill can be passed in 2 or 3 days provided the House majority supports it,” Cayetano said yesterday.

He warned the camp of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco that he will not allow the congressman to insist on being the new House Speaker due to the “fake session” at Celebrity Sports Plaza.

“I will not allow you to burn this house down. If you try to burn this house down, you will get one hell of a fight. Holding a ‘fake session’ sets a dangerous precedent. Don’t throw the Constitution away. Don’t throw the Constitution into the waste basket,” Cayetano said.

The House Speaker stressed that the session of pro-Velasco congressmen is illegitimate and will not be recognized by the Chamber because it was only a social club gathering.

“Sobrang kalokohan ‘yung ginawa nila. You know in your hearts, it’s simply wrong,” declared Cayetano who further condemned the act of the Velasco camp as done only in a banana republic and a complete disrespect for the Constitution.

And because what the Velasco camp held was a fake session, Cayetano told Velasco’s allies they are welcome to join the legitimate session today at the Batasan Complex where the budget will be discussed.

Meanwhile Malacanang reiterated it will not meddle in the Speakership issue and whatever the House members will do after passing the 2021 budget.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said President Duterte doesn’t care who seats as House Speaker and the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco is no longer his concern.

“Yung mga bagay na yan, wala na yan. Wala na yan. I mean, bahala na sila dyan. Wala na syang pakialam. Wala na siyang pakialam kung anong gagawin ng mga mambabatas matapos maipasa ang 2021 budget. Walang pinapanigan. To each his own. May the best man win for the Speakership — after the budget passes in the House,” Roque concluded.

Once the budget deliberation is over Cayetano and Velasco are expected to clash.

The allies of Cayetano made it clear when he offered to resign as House Speaker on September 30 and the lawmakers did not allow him to that the issue of term-sharing had become “moot and academic.”