‘Scrap term-sharing deal between Cayetano, Velasco’

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    THE term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Jay Velasco should be scrapped now that the latter has decided not to honor it and is plotting instead a coup against the House leadership, deputy speaker Luis Raymond Villafuerte said yesterday.

    “If there is anything I can agree to with (what) Rep. Velasco (is saying), it is his position now that we should just allow the members of the majority coalition to decide on the fate of the term-sharing agreement between him and Speaker Alan,” he said.

    Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, a partymate of Velasco at the ruling PDP-Laban, slammed Villafuerte for saying that congressmen should just scuttle the term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Velasco.

    “LRay, better for you to shut your mouth!! This guy is unbelievably fantastic as he has that temerity to go public and say things which he knows for himself are all lies. Magaling! Napaniwala niya pati sarili nya sa kanyang sariling kasinungalingan (Very good! He was able to make himself believe in his own lies),” he said.

    Cayetano last week accused Velasco, who belongs to the ruling party PDP-Laban, of dangling chairmanship posts and congressional allocations to secure the support of other administration congressmen for his plot to oust the Speaker over the way the House leadership is handling ABS-CBN Corporation’s application to renew its legislative franchise. Velasco has denied this.

    Villafuerte said Velasco, by attempting a coup, has broken the agreement way ahead of his scheduled takeover in October, which was what was agreed upon with President Duterte before Cayetano assumed the post of speaker in July last year.

    “I trust the collective wisdom of our peers for them to discern which leadership setup in the chamber would best advance the President’s legislative agenda and serve the best interest of the Filipino people for the remainder of this administration,” said Villafuerte, Cayetano’s partymate in the Nacionalista Party.

    “How can Rep. Velasco assure our peers in the House of continuity in the President’s legislative agenda, which Speaker Alan has ably shepherded in the House on his watch, when Rep. Velasco does not seem honorable enough to abide by something as basic as a gentlemen’s agreement, let alone one that had the imprimatur of President Duterte who is the titular head of our ruling coalition?” he added.

    Villafuerte said Velasco could not even admit that he has failed in his attempt to oust the Speaker, calling him “bereft of the gravitas, track record and experience in public office to replace Speaker Alan at the helm of the bigger chamber.”

    On Saturday night, Cayetano said the coup attempt against him by the camp of Velasco only shows how the House of Representatives badly needs to be reformed as transactional politics continues to be prevalent inside its halls.

    “I believe in what I believe. I will not be transactional. I will not sacrifice my principles and this administration’s priorities,” Cayetano said in a Facebook post.

    Cayetano earlier accused Velasco’s camp of being behind moves to “sabotage” this year’s P4.1-trillion national budget, the source of all the districts’ congressional allocations.

    “I believe in silver linings. So, thank you to the ‘Triple A Boys’ in Congress – ‘yung mga puro absent, sipsip sa ABS-CBN, at yung mga nag-aantay lang ng allotments (Those who are always absent, sucking up to ABS-CBN and those who are just waiting for allocations).

    You’ve shown me just how desperately we need to reform this institution. You have strengthened my resolve to continue the fight,” Cayetano said.

    The Speaker, however, expressed belief “that most members of Congress see and appreciate the reforms I stand for.”

    “If they do, then I will continue to serve as their Speaker. If they don’t, then they can remove me, I will continue to serve as the Representative of Taguig and Pateros. I will continue the lonely fight with whoever will join me,” Cayetano said.

    VISAYAN BLOC STILL FOR ALAN

    Leachon challenged the House leadership to “produce the names of those House members who were allegedly enticed with chairmanship position because that’s not true. I’ve been with Cong. Velasco almost every day and there’s not even single moment that such alleged offer was ever made to anybody.”

    He said Villafuerte’s “words, apart from being cheap, are extremely foul and below-the-belt and therefore, unfit as statements to be uttered by any member of Congress.”
    Rep. Ron Salo (Kabalikat party-list group) lashed out claims that Cayetano concocted a plot to unseat him.

    For one, he called Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza’s claim as “wild,” saying it is contrary to reports that at least 20 congressmen were the ones who revealed the plot to oust the Speaker.

    “Atienza apparently has nothing better left to do aside from always questioning the supposed lack of a quorum during House sessions that he has resorted to making wild claims against the Speaker,” Salo said.

    “How can Mr. No Quorum claim that the Speaker merely made up the coup plot when no less than 20 congressmen approached and informed the Speaker about Velasco’s moves to topple him? he added.

    Salo also took to task Rep. Jericho Nograles (Pwersa ng Bayaning Atleta partylist group) for saying that an ouster plot against Cayetano makes no sense because Velasco is only a few months away from taking over the speaker post.

    “Nograles even had the gall to say that the public should be assured that the House is focused on passing laws and not playing politics. For his information, the House has long been working double time to pass President Duterte’s priority measures under Cayetano’s leadership. It is Velasco’s camp that is bent on sowing division among the House members by attempting to oust the Speaker,” he said.

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