INVOKING the term-sharing agreement, a total of 186 allies of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Monday elected him as new Speaker during an event outside the Batasan Pambansa Complex that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano described as a fake session.
Under the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano was tasked to serve as Speaker for 15 months or up to October this year, after which Velasco, who chairs the House committee on energy, would take over.
Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez was taskee to serve as House Majority Leader for three years.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives, Cayetano branded as fake the rump session held by the camp of Velasco.
“Ang purpose nila, manggulo. The last time I checked, ang Celebrity Sports Club ay hindi Kongreso. They are throwing the Constitution to waste. Fake session ang ginagawa nila,” Cayetano said.
Deputy Speaker Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales II, a staunch ally of Cayetano, branded as an “illegal session” the Velasco event, stressing the group was not authorized by the plenary to hold session.
Gonzales stressed 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,” said Gonzales, stressing that both old and official maces are at the House Sergeant at Arms.
However, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez 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.
The rump session Monday morning held at the Celebrity Sports Complex in Quezon City was presided by Deputy Speaker Conrado Estrella III and House Deputy Majority Leader Juan Pablo “Rimpy” Bondoc of Pampanga stood as acting floor leader.
A nominal voting resulted in 186 votes favoring the motion of Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list Rep. Lito Atienza, a critic of the Cayetano leadership, to declare the position of Cayetano vacant.
Immediately after the voting, a number of lawmakers led by 1-Pacman party-list Rep. Mikee Romero, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, Maguindanao Rep. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu, Negros Occidental Rep. Kiko Benitez, Rizal Rep. Michael John “Jack” Duavit, among others nominated Velasco for the speakership position and later elected as Speaker with 186 votes.
The rump session also elected Atty. Jocelia Bighani-Sipin as Secretary General while retired Police Major General Mao Aplasca was installed Sergeant of Arms.
The posts are currently held by Atty. Jose Luis Montales and retired Police Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, respectively.
VELASCO APPEALS FOR PEACEFUL TRANSITION
Velasco expressed hope that there will be a smooth transition of power in the House of Representatives.
“With this compelling proof that has installed me as Speaker of the House, I would like to extend my hand to Speaker [Alan Peter] Cayetano and hope that he would be amenable to sit down with me as we comply with the term-sharing agreement for a peaceful transition for the benefit of our members and the country,” Velasco said. “And most of all, today’s (Monday) events would ensure that the President’s call for a timely, legal and constitutional approval of the 2021 budget will be complied with.”