It’s getting bleaker every day for Velasco

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    DEPUTY Speaker Luis Raymond Villafuerte yesterday said lawmakers will have to ultimately decide if Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will sit as Speaker next year after President Duterte vowed that he will no longer meddle in the term-sharing agreement between Velasco and Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

    Villafuerte, a party mate of Cayetano in the Nacionalista Party (NP), said a leadership change is not in the interest of the House of Representatives because it will be “disruptive.”

    “A leadership change is disruptive. Look at what happened last year when the budget became a casualty,” he told ANC.

    Villafuerte was referring to the delay in the passage of the 2019 budget last year amid a leadership change which saw then Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo being catapulted to the Speaker’s post after ousting Pantaleon Alvarez.

    “The NP is for the continuity,” he said. “If the President does not meddle, the House will decide if it will push through with the term-sharing or not.”

    The President on Monday night reiterated that he will not interfere or meddle in the implementation of the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco.

    The President, during the joint birthday celebration of Velasco and his wife, Rowena, at the Gloria Maris restaurant in San Juan, said the House of Representatives should run its own affairs.

    Under the agreement, Cayetano will serve as speaker for the first 15 months while Velasco will serve the last 21 months.

    Cayetano prefers to wait for the guidance of the President if he would relinquish his post to Velasco at the end of 15 months. The President brokered the term-sharing agreement before the House elected Cayetano last July 22.

    Velasco broke his silence on the issue last Monday, stressing that “an agreement is an agreement – a gentleman’s agreement is a gentleman’s agreement.”