Velasco’s term-sharing pact with Cayetano hangs

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    HOW will Alan play his cards?

    The term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is now hanging in the balance.

    While their agreement stays for now, Cayetano said President Duterte will still have to confirm if Velasco will assume the post late next year since the President is the head of the administration coalition.

    “While Congress is independent and the executive does not meddle in its affairs, it’s still the President who will decide in matters concerning the administration coalition,” the Speaker told reporters during an inspection of the New Clark City Sports Complex in Capas, Tarlac where the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will be held from November 30 to December 11.

    Cayetano, chair of the Philippine Southeast Asian games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), visited the world-class sports complex with Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go.

    Cayetano, a former senator and foreign affairs secretary, said he will seek the President’s guidance before the 15-month period expires late next year. Under the term-sharing deal forged by Duterte, Cayetano will sit as Speaker for 15 months then Velasco will take over and lead the House for 21 months.

    “I promised the President, I’ll do a good job and one month or two months before the agreed end of my term (as Speaker), I’ll go to him for instructions. So, whatever the President’s instruction is will be followed,” he said.

    Velasco, a stalwart of PDP-Laban, said last July he was still holding on to their gentlemen’s agreement even if presidential son deputy speaker Paolo Duterte is against it.

    The Speaker said even Velasco and House majority leader Martin Romualdez have agreed with him that the President should have the last say if he will still be replaced or not.

    Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., president of the National Unity Party (NUP), earlier said Cayetano might not be replaced anymore because of his high ratings.

    “The high approval and trust ratings received by Speaker Cayetano at this early stage of his term show that the people have noticed that he is really sincere and determined in his mission to transform the House of Representatives into the House of the People,” Barzaga said in a statement.

    Cayetano got a high 64 percent approval rating and a 62 percent trust rating in the latest Ulat sa Bayan survey conducted by Pulse Asia from September 16 to 22 among 1,200 adult respondents nationwide.

    It was the first time the Speaker rated higher than the Vice President in terms of both trust and approval ratings.

    When former president Gloria Arroyo was speaker, her highest public approval rating in Pulse Asia surveys was 29 percent, while her predecessor, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, got a high 42 percent.

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