INDEED, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor had this to say yesterday when asked if Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should step down late next year to give way to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco because of their term-sharing agreement.
While he was not among those who backed Cayetano in the speakership race, Defensor said he does not want a leadership change to ensure stability in the House, especially since the current leadership is doing very well.
“If the President is a basketball coach and Speaker Cayetano is a power forward, a small forward or a guard, and he’s doing very well in shouldering the scoring load, why would you bench him?” he told the Ugnayan sa Batasan weekly news forum.
Cayetano last week said his agreement with Velasco stays for now but he would still ask President Duterte, as head of the administration coalition, to confirm if Velasco will assume the post late next year.
The Speaker wants Duterte to decide if he will step down after 15 months in office to give way to Velasco, who is set to assume the post for 21 months starting late next year based on their agreement.
“We’re all doing very well, (so) why change the leadership when we’re doing well?” said Defensor, chair of the committee on public accounts. “The agreement is just amongst them (Cayetano, Velasco and the President).”
Malacañang has said the President will not meddle anymore and it would be up to Cayetano and Velasco to settle the issue between them.
Defensor said that while he has nothing against other candidates, he believes that the House should just continue with Speaker Cayetano and the rest of the House leaders “for the country and the President.”
Defensor, a staunch ally of majority leader Martin Romualdez, who was among those who eyed the speaker’s post, said changing the House leadership does not make sense since Cayetano is the highest-rated Speaker in recent history based on the last Pulse Asia survey.
He said a leadership change would be impractical because the House, under Cayetano, was able to approve the P4.1 trillion proposed national budget or the General Appropriations Bill for 2020 in record time on top of the significant tax measures that were immediately approved by the House.
“When you change leadership, there will be an adjustment again. There will also be changes in the (composition and leadership) of various committees,” Defensor said.
In the same news forum, ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, chair of the committee on games and amusement, said there will still be an election on the floor because Velasco cannot just assume the speakership based on the term-sharing agreement.
“There’s no agreement signed. It was just verbal and what I know is we will still have to vote for a speaker,” he said. “If there will be an election, we’ll choose the one best for Congress.”
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador Leachon, a stalwart of the ruling PDP-Laban to which Velasco belongs, said he and his colleagues are proud of Cayetano’s high trust rating “as it also reflects, apart from his commendable management, the society’s collective and individual perception among us congressmen.”
Leachon, however, said it would be best if the President would settle the issue once and for all.
“For sure, if ever the term-sharing is to ensue, that will be faced by Cong. Velasco both as a challenge and inspiration. I’ve dealt and known these two great lawmakers, and they both posses requisites of competency and industry as House leaders. At the end of the day, let’s just wait for the green light of the President, for after all, the term sharing emanated from him,” he said in a test message.