Speaker risks post being declared vacant


Allies of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco have threatened to declare the speakership vacant if Speaker Alan Peter S. Cayetano clings to the post after Oct. 14, a lawmaker said on Friday.

Party-list Rep. Michael T. Defensor, a known ally of Mr. Cayetano, earlier challenged congressmen to declare the speakership post vacant to see how other lawmakers would still back Mr. Cayetano’s leadership.

Party-list Rep. Sharon S. Garin, who supports Mr. Velasco, accused the speaker’s camp of defying President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s reported order to honor the term-sharing deal that he brokered between the two last year.

Ms. Garin, along with other key House allies, was present during an earlier meeting with the President to settle the speakership row.

“It was clear to me that what the President said is to pass the budget on time and honor the term-sharing deal,” she told BusinessWorld.

“Do we want an opposition Congress or do we want a Congress that works with the President?” Ms. Garin asked. “When you contradict the President, it means that the members of the House want a Speaker who is an oppositionist.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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