Cayetano disappointed with Velasco's refusal to share Speakership term

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 27) — Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco refuses to share the House Speakership position, Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano bemoans.

The ruling political party PDP-LABAN chose Velasco as their candidate for House Speaker of the 18th Congress over Cayetano, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.

"I want to reiterate that I am committed to support and follow the President as he in many occasions mentioned term sharing between myself and Congressman Velasco... It is for this reason that I am deeply disappointed that after we both expressed full agreement with the President's proposal [Velasco] and his wife are now making a turnaround and won't honor President's wishes," Cayetano said Thursday.

Cayetano added that there was already an "agreement in principle" on term sharing last Monday night. The term sharing agreement would have Cayetano sit as Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, and Velasco taking over for the remaining 21 months.

"The term sharing scheme has been proposed as a ‘win win solution’ to resolve the Speakership issue. I am willing to abide by the recommendation of the President," said Cayetano, who was President Rodrigo Duterte's running mate during the 2016 elections.

Velasco, however, seemed to have a different interpretation of Duterte's words, adding that they never talked about term sharing.

"President Duterte already made clear his position that he would leave the choice for Speakership to the capable hands of the members of Congress and will not endorse a particular individual for the position. This declaration never mentioned a term sharing for the position of Speaker," Velasco said in a statement Thursday night.

He added that the proposed measure would only divide the Congress.

"There is a strong consensus among majority members of the House of Representatives during my series of consultation with them that term sharing is divisive and will only impede the passage of important pieces of legislation that this administration needs to fulfill its mandate and promise to the people," said Velasco.

Velasco thanked his party mates for the opportunity to become House Speaker and added that he has been ready to take on the role since last year's State of the Nation Address.

Meanwhile, Cayetano has a history of taking on different leadership positions since the start of the Duterte administration.

Having lost the 2016 vice presidential elections, Cayetano continued his term in the Senate until Duterte appointed him as the Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2017, making him the third person to hold the top diplomat position in the current administration.

In October 2018, Cayetano then resigned to run for the 2019 elections, to replace his sister Pia Cayetano as Taguig Representative while she in turn ran for and got elected into the Senate.