President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday that Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano will become the next House Speaker and will share his term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“I’m sorry, I’m quite late. I was talking to three people. I think it’s about time I talk. So your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano…. he shares the term with Lord Velasco,” Duterte said.
The Chief Executive also announced that Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez will become the majority floor leader.
Duterte made the announcement in Malacañang, during the oathtaking of newly-appointed officials.
The President said his endorsement of House leaders does not undermine the independence of the legislative branch.
“I am not interfering in the work of legislation. We are only talking about the leaders,” Duterte said.
He clarified the final decision on the next House leaders will still come from the lawmakers themselves.
“That is their privilege actually. We’re just trying to end impasse. They kept on asking, ‘Who is the candidate of the President?’” Duterte said.
In a statement sent to reporters, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said that Cayetano will serve as Speaker in the first 15 months, while Velasco will occupy the post in the remaining 21 months.
Before Monday’s announcement, the President had repeatedly distanced himself from the speakership race, refusing to endorse any of the candidates because they were all his “friends and allies.”
But the President got involved because the three congressmen sought his help, Panelo said.
“Since the election of the Speaker has resulted in a bitter and fractious rivalry that threatens the break-up of political allies, the President, to save the unity of the alliance and avert its fragmentation, obliged to the request of the three candidates,” he said.
Cayetano, Velasco, and Romualdez agreed to respect the choice of President Duterte, Panelo said.
Cayetano, who ran unsuccessfully for vice president as Duterte’s running mate, thanked the President for his endorsement.
“We thank him for the announcement that he has made. We want the House of Representatives to be the Congress of the people,” he said.
He promised that “good governance will always come first.”
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the ruling PDP-Laban, said the term sharing was a “good proposal.”
“We made our own term sharing proposal in order to resolve the issue of House Speaker,” said Pimentel, who had earlier said they would agree to a deal if Velasco would sit first as Speaker.
“But if the President himself has resolved the issue, then great!” he said.
READ: 3 power blocs go for MartinREAD: 'Pulong' opts out of race for speakerREAD: Romualdez best bet—poll
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