In a nearly 1-hour privilege speech before lawmakers on Wednesday, Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano offered to step down as Speaker of the House of Representatives citing the eagerness of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to take over the chamber’s helm — a move readily rejected by his colleagues.
“I will not be a party to letting the President down. So I’m offering my resignation, here and now, to you, my dear colleagues. My fate and the fate of the 2021 budget, and the fate of the leadership of the House is in your hands,” Cayetano said, adding that he was resigning to let Velasco prove that he could be in charge of crucial deliberations on the 2021 budget.
“Congressman Velasco told the President that he is ready. Then I think the best time for him to prove it is now. Gusto mo ng Sept. 30? Sige. If our colleagues want you today, ikaw na. Let him show that he can pass the budget on time, but more than that, let him show that it will be a great budget. A budget that all of us will be proud of,” he added.
However, Cayetano’s resignation was swiftly rejected by lawmakers who voted viva voce to retain him as head of the administration-dominated House.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte called a meeting with Cayetano and Velasco to iron out the implementation of a term-sharing deal between the two. Under the “gentleman’s agreement” that Duterte brokered last year, it was agreed upon that Cayetano would serve for the first 15 months and Velasco taking over as Speaker in the next 21 months. However, lawmakers who openly support Cayetano had moved to keep the Taguig representative in power, saying a change in leadership would derail the 2020 national budget passage, among other justifications.