Lord on Speaker post: Alan will step down next year

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    MARINDUQUE Rep. Lord Alan Velasco is confident that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will step down late next year to honor their term-sharing agreement now that President Duterte has said that will not meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives.

    “I know naman for a fact na usapang lalaki (I know for a fact that it was a gentleman’s agreement),” Velasco told reporters. “Definitely when the 15 months is already due, I believe Speaker Alan will step down and hand the speakership (to me).”

    Cayetano had earlier said he 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.

    Telltale signs that the term-sharing agreement is not likely to happen next year has been observed at the House, especially after several lawmakers like Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., the president of the National Unity Party (NUP), and Anakalusugan party-list Rep.

    Michael Defensor called for continuity because of Cayetano’s high ratings in recent surveys.

    It was President Duterte who brokered the term-sharing agreement before the House elected Cayetano last July 22.

    Last November 24, Duterte reminded Cayetano and Velasco of their “solemn” term-sharing agreement which he described as a “gentleman’s agreement.”

    “If anyone of them would not honor it, be it Lord Velasco or Peter Cayetano that is, that would be his decision. But he has to take care that there is an agreement of sharing. If you violate it… that is an agreement,” the President said in an interview at the presentation of great-grandson Rodrigo “Tres” Duterte III in Davao City.

    Velasco said he has kept silent because he does not want to “grab the limelight (and) I want to give him (Cayetano) free rein.”

    “I’m just waiting for (my time),” said Velasco, chair of the House committee on energy.

    Velasco also said he has not been talking to presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who took a swipe at Cayetano in a social media post where she twitted lawmakers for not listening to her when she was opposing Cayetano’s election as speaker.

    The presidential daughter was reacting to the flak that Cayetano has been drawing for the hitches in the conduct of the 30th Southeast Asian games. Cayetano is the chair of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Phisgoc).

    “I haven’t talked to Mayor Inday. Later on I will call and ask her what she means by that.

    Here in Congress we just work. We are very civil (and) we don’t really talk about the term-sharing agreement,” Velasco said.