Palace hands-off on issue

Malacañang on Tuesday distanced itself from the possible dumping of the term-sharing arrangement between House Speaker  Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque).

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, in an interview with One News PH, said he has been informed of the supposed intent to scrap the term-sharing arrangement at the House of Representatives.

panelo 2

Panelo, however, said the Palace would take a hands-off stance on the issue involving the two congressmen since they belong to the legislative branch.

“Hindi nga kami nakikialam doon sa Kongreso (We don’t intervene in the affairs of Congress),” he said when sought to react to reports about Cayetano’s possible retention of the House speakership post until 2022, if the latter sustains good performance.

Under the term-sharing deal brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte on July 22, Cayetano would hold the highest position at the House for 15 months, or until October 2020, while Velasco would take over and serve until the 18th Congress ends in 2022.

Cayetano was Duterte’s former foreign affairs secretary and running mate in the 2016 elections.
Velasco, meanwhile, was the top pick of the President’s political party, the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan, to lead the House.

On October 12, Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barazaga said there would be a “groundswell among House members” for Cayetano to stay as Speaker until June 30, 2022, given the latter’s high trust and approval scores in the latest Pulse Asia report.

The survey, conducted by pollster Pulse Asia from September 16 to 22, showed that Cayetano received a 62 percent trust rating and 64 percent approval rating.

Barazaga said his fellow congressmen might consider retaining Cayetano as Speaker until 2022, if the House leader is able to “sustain that performance.”

Panelo said the President and the Palace would leave it to the House lawmakers to decide on the fate of Cayetano and Velasco.

“Actually, nasa kanila naman ‘yun eh, members ng Congress (Actually, it’s up to them, members of the Congress),” he said.

He was optimistic that the current administration’s priority bills would continue getting support from the congressmen since both Cayetano and Velascso are both “fans” of the President.

“Hindi ba lahat naman sila, puro fans ni Presidente? Bilib sila kay Presidente. Kaya kahit sinong maging Speaker diyan, they will support the President’s agenda (They are all of fans of the President, aren’t they? They admire the President. Whoever the Speaker would be, he would support the President’s agenda),” he said. (PNA)

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