Contact Details

Rm. N-411, House of Representatives, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
+63 2 931 5497, +63 2 931 5001 local 7370

As a member of the independent opposition, I have tried not to meddle in the intramurals of the majority coalition on the Speakership row. 

But I cannot anymore remain silent as a Member of the House of Representatives because the unresolved acrimonious leadership issue is damaging both the institution and the public interest. 

At the behest of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, the following aberrations occurred in the House of Representatives yesterday, October 6, 2020:

  1. Inordinate railroading of the proposed 2021 national budget with the precipitate termination of the plenary deliberations on the General Appropriation Bill (GAB) [HB No. 7727] even as the proposed budgets of numerous major government departments, agencies and bodies have not yet been debated on and scrutinized;

  2. Abrupt approval of the GAB; and

  3. Suspension (adjournment) of the plenary sessions without the prior consent of the Senate for 40 days up to November 15, 2020 in violation of Section 16(5) of Article VI of the Constitution and against Concurrent Resolution No. 11 setting the Calendar of the Congress.

Consequently, I will not keep my peace and remain a silent bystander, although I am not a partisan, as an independent oppositionist, for or against either of the contenders. Minority and independent Members of the House must not vote for the Majority’s candidate or candidates for Speaker.

The following must be unequivocally articulated and understood:

  1. When 266 Members of the House of Representatives elected Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker on July 22, 2020 virtually unopposed, except for the token the candidacy of Rep. Bienvenido Abante, who was handpicked beforehand by the incoming House leadership to become the Minority Leader, all were fully aware of the term-sharing agreement wherein Cayetano would be the Speaker for 15 months and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco would assume the Speakership by October 2020 for the remaining 21 months of the 18thCongress, thus the “1521” deal.

  2. Consequently, members of the supermajority, together with Cayetano, are now irrevocably estopped from reneging on the deal.

  3. It is incumbent on the members of the supermajority to honor the term-sharing agreement which was the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte, the supreme leader of the coalesced majority.

  4. As far as the majority is concerned, what the President Duterte brokered must not be broken.

  5. By tradition, the General Appropriations Act for the year immediately preceding an election, like the presidential, national and local elections in 2022, is considered the election budget. Consequently, the 2021 national budget is the election budget. This explains why the squabble to inequitably partake of the budget pie is central to the Speakership issue, particularly for Cayetano and his principal allies.

  6. Cayatano’s obstinately holding on to the Speakership, even as this violates the term-sharing deal, is linked to his ambition to run for President in 2022, which he does not deny.

  7. Even as Cayetano invokes that it was agreed upon that in the event of a Velasco takeover, the vital House positions and committee chairmanships will be maintained, he has himself preempted and torpedoed this agreement by initially ousting Rep. Michael L. Romero, a strong Velasco ally, as Deputy Speaker. Subsequently, the following Representatives, who are identified with the Velasco camp, also lost their respective chairmanships Rep. Sharon Garin (Committee on Economic Franchises); Rep. Helen Tan (Committee on Health) and Rep. Eric Martinez (Committee on Youth and Sports).

  8. The rejection by members of the majority coalition of Cayetano’s “offer to resign” as Speaker was a moro-moro, an inordinate sham. 

  9. To honor the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano must not only offer to resign but must irrevocably resign.

  10. It is the tradition, albeit flawed, that the Speaker is chosen in Malacañang and such anointment is confirmed by the subsequent nominal voting by the President’s allies in the House of Representatives. 

The reality is no Speaker since the 8th Congress after EDSA, and even before, has been “elected” without the blessings of the President.