Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco on Tuesday expressed confidence that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will honor the term-sharing agreement.
“At the end of the day, we really do not know what will happen in 15 months. I will leave it up to my colleagues,” Velasco, who is expected to take over the House leadership after 15 months, told reporters.
He made the statement even as the minority bloc in the House on Tuesday elected its leader for the 18th Congress, a day after the opening of the First Regular Session.
After contending with Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, who eventually won the Speakership race on Monday, Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. of Manila, a returning representative and the only nominee for the post, received unanimous support from his colleagues in the minority.
Abante said the minority bloc will not kowtow to be the majority and will be a real fiscalizer to prevent abuses. His election as minority leader will be formalized in the plenary session.
“Definitely we will not be a company union. I can assure you that,” Abante said following his election.
“In fact, when I was in the 13th and 14th Congress, there were times that I argued with the President in our personal talks.”
Meanwhile, former Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s son, Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel Arroyo, on Tuesday night was elected as deputy majority leader.
Majority Leader Martin Romualdez also announced the new set of House leaders.
Velasco said he would not give up on becoming Speaker even if presidential son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, had made it clear that he was opposed to the term-sharing agreement formula that was brokered to put an end to the speakership row.
“Are you saying that I am giving up? I am not giving up, we had a gentleman’s agreement, so I will respect the 15 months of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and hopefully by the 15th month, he said he will step down and then”we will still go back to an election of the Speaker,” he said.
During the opening of the First Regular Session of the 18th Congress Monday, Paolo was the first to nominate Cayetano as speaker, and then posed his objection to the term-term sharing agreement.
“I am against any term sharing,” Paolo told the plenary. “If the Speaker resigns after 15 months, we will have to elect a new speaker.”
Velasco said while waiting for his turn to lead the House, he was eying to retain his post as head of the committee on energy which he also led in the last Congress.
“I was asking for the energy committee,” he said.
“They [House leadership] were actually offering me a deputy speaker [position] but I said I would rather work with my former energy committee because I have a lot to do with the energy sector.”