The crippling impasse in the acrimonious contest for the Speakership is inevitably and ultimately traceable to President Rodrigo Duterte’s having brokered in July 2019 a term-sharing agreement between Reps. Alan Peter Cayetano and Lord Allan Velsaco, both staunch supporters of the President.
The on-going power struggle has derailed the budget deliberations and imperiled the seasonable enactment of the General Appropriations Act for 2021 due to the unprecedented and precipitate actions of Speaker Cayetano to hold on as Speaker.
Since Cayetano does not want to honor the “15-21” deal on the pretext that the majority of the Representatives want him to prolong his tenure as speaker, then it is incumbent upon Duterte to unequivocally enforce the term-sharing agreement because what the President has brokered must not be broken as it binds Duterte’s allies.
Duterte must tell the Members of the House and the people in no uncertain terms that the compromise must be respected and honored, and Cayetano must irrevocably resign and Velasco should take over as the new Speaker.
The President must avoid any ambivalent language or mystical message which could be subject to differing interpretations.
Since the President said that he is not a lame duck, perforce, he must instruct his supermajority allies in the House to follow his clear and unambiguous solution to the impasse.
The tradition, albeit flawed, is that the Speaker is chosen in Malacañang, and the anointment is simply confirmed by the President’s allies in the House of Representatives in an uncontested nominal voting.
Moreover, the President must call soonest the Congress to a special session so that the deliberations on the enactment of the national budget could resume and assure the timely passage of the national budget for 2021
Section 15 of Article VI of the Constitution authorizes the President to “call a special session at any time.”
EDCEL C. LAGMAN