The so-called term sharing in the leadership of the House of Representatives was not part of any formal agreement between two rivals for the post, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said yesterday.
In a phone interview with House reporters, Pimentel who was assigned by Velasco to speak on his behalf, said there was no meeting between Cayetano and Velasco where the controversial scheme was agreed on.
President Rodrigo Duterte confirmed in an interview last week that he proposed term-sharing between the two contenders but Velasco said he was not a party to the deal.
“It could have been proposed by the President but they did not sit down and they did not agree among themselves or between the two of them that they will have term-sharing,”the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) member said.
“No formal meeting was held between Lord Velasco and Congressman Cayetano. They did not sit down and talk. There was never any deal or talk between the two of them or whatsoever,” Pimentel added.
SMC chief neutral
Amid the various speculations on who will be the next Speaker in the House of Representatives, San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang denied reports and claims that he was backing any contender for the Speakership.
This follows after Cayetano had revealed earlier that the business tycoon was supporting Velasco.
“That is untrue. I know all of them, but I’m not supporting anyone in particular,” said Ang in a statement, adding that he had “never exerted influence or asked for political favors.”
“In fact, he himself can attest to this because he has sought my help many times,” said Ang, referring to Cayetano.
Cayetano previously disclosed that Velasco’s wife worked as a lobbyist for Ang and that “resources were” flowing to influence the race in favor of Velasco.
“The resources that are flowing cannot come from just the couple,” Cayetano said in a separate interview.
However, Ang stressed that he was not influencing the race for the House leadership.
“We think that that race is down to the President’s choice, or who his party chooses. I am not part of that. I don’t think anyone, no matter what they do, can influence the President or Congress,” said Ang.
According to Cayetano
In a statement last Friday, Cayetano insisted Velasco and President Duterte agreed to have a 15-21 month term-sharing where the Taguig lawmaker will get the first 15 months and PDP’s official candidate will get the remaining 21 months.
However, Velasco refuted Cayetano’s claim in another statement saying that the President is firm he will not endorse anyone for the post and his pronouncement did not include a term-sharing at the House.
“This is what I advised. Share your terms. Cayetano wanted to start first. But he will stay there just for 15 months. That’s what he committed and Velasco can have the other half which is not really as short as 21 months,” Duterte narrated.
“That is the proposal. Cayetano agreed but Velasco appeared to have backed out on the last minute. So my suggestion is this: Since you want it that way and all of us are friends, let us not fight. It will not help anybody. Settle it through a rumble, Romualdez, Alvarez, Cayetano,” the President added.
Cayetano added that Velasco’s wife, Mrs. Wen Velasco was interfering in the speakership race.
The former foreign affairs chief said that he agreed with Mrs. Velasco during the thanksgiving dinner of Hugpong ng Pagbabago that her husband will be sharing the three-year term with him.
Keep focus on issue
On that matter, Pimentel said that it is ‘not right’ for Cayetano to drag Velasco’s wife in the term-sharing deal and any link of Velasco with the businessman is but normal for lawmakers as the business sector partners with the government to foster development.
“I don’t think that it is fair that you include the wife of Congressman Velasco because I do not think that Wen Velasco is interfering in the affairs of the speakership race. We all know that Wen is very close to the President’s family,” he said.
“All the candidates for speakership are close in one way or another to all our businessmen even other politicians are close to the businessmen because that is how we work. The business industry and the government should work together because they are partners in the development of our country,” he added.
Pimentel added that Cayetano should not deal with someone who is not part of the House of Representatives.
With Elmer N. Manuel