Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that President Rodrigo Duterte will no longer intervene in favor of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco after the House of Representatives voted to keep Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as House Speaker.
“Katatawag lang po sa akin ng Presidente at sabi niya, ‘Stay out tayo diyan. No comment tayo diyan. That’s a purely internal affair of the House of Representatives.’ This means the President respects the votes,” said Roque.
In a nearly 1-hour privilege speech before lawmakers, Cayetano offered to step down as Speaker of the House of Representatives, citing Velasco’s eagerness to take over the chamber’s helm. The resignation, however, was swiftly rejected by the majority of lawmakers, 184 in total.
On Tuesday, Duterte met with Cayetano and Velasco at the Palace where he asked his House allies to respect the term-sharing deal he had brokered with the two rivals.
Under a “gentleman’s agreement,” it was agreed upon that Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for the first 15 months and Velasco would take over in the next 21 months.
The majority of lawmakers, however, openly expressed their support for Cayetano and moved to keep him in power, saying that a change in leadership would derail the passage of the 2020 national budget.
Roque noted that Duterte’s decision not to step in after the development on Wednesday is consistent with the president’s earlier stance that while he wants both lawmakers to respect the term-sharing deal, he could do nothing if Velasco “does not have the numbers.”