A manifesto asking Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano to renege on his gentlemen’s agreement to share his term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco is making the rounds of the House of Representatives and several congressmen have reportedly signed it.
The Cayetano-Velasco agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte calls for a 15-month tenure as Speaker for Cayetano and the last 21 months of the 18th Congress with Velasco at the helm.
On Friday, Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice said he signed the manifesto and denied that Cayetano supporters were promised big cuts from the 2021 budget for projects in exchange for their signatures on the manifesto.
Erice cited himself as an example, claiming that his district received one of the smallest allocations amounting to about P400 million in next year’s budget.
“I did not ask for anything in exchange for my signature,” he said in Filipino.
However, Erice said he did not know how many congressmen have signed the manifesto.
Erice said it was inadvisable for the House to change leadership while the country is dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the term-sharing agreement, Cayetano is supposed to step down next month.
While Velasco has “acted as a good brother to his colleagues, what the House needs now is the wisdom of a good father and thus the gentlemen’s agreement should make way” for Cayetano’s continued leadership.
Erice called on Velasco to “sacrifice his personal ambition” for the betterment of all.
“He will have his time,” Erice added.
Velasco is on his last term as congressman while Cayetano has just returned to the House after 12 years in the Senate.
Meanwhile, Cayetano on Wednesday thanked lawmakers for crossing party lines to express their support for his leadership. He asked them to translate the show of unity into action by swiftly passing “the best budget ever” that will prioritize people’s lives and their livelihood.
In a separate Facebook Live post, Cayetano said the show of support from his colleagues would be “meaningless” if it does not result in a better life for the people.
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