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‘Cayetano quit dare a sham’

It was supposedly a smooth transfer of the Speaker’s seat. That was until Cayetano took the microphone as his hostage to lambast Velasco’s supposed dirty tricks in having him removed.

Michelle R. Guillang

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Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo “Arnie” Teves called Wednesday’s proceedings at the House of Representatives that ended with Speaker Cayetano’s resignation and its rejection by his peers as a sham.

“It’s invalid,” exclaimed Teves, one of the most vocal among the lawmakers.

“What do they think of the people, stupid? No, they’re not,” he added.

Teves was referring to the conduct of the hastily called plenary session where Cayetano lambasted his rival to the speakership, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who had no chance and venue to reply to Cayetano’s statements as of last night.

“Why invalid? In any proceeding, if a point of order is raised, it should be recognized and heard,” Teves said.

“I raised a point of order but they muted my microphone so that I would not be heard. I posted an objection to those proceedings in our Viber group. They can only claim that our technology is not 100 percent (working),” he stated.

Teves was not the only one whose microphone was turned off when he was raising his point before the House members.

Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza’s sound system was muted when he was asked if he is against Cayetano’s resignation to which he supposedly answered “yes, he should resign on 14 October.”

That was the agreed date of the turnover of the House Speakership from Cayetano to Velasco. No less than President Rodrigo Duterte mediated between them to make the transfer happen.

“It was supposedly a smooth transfer of the Speaker’s seat. That was until Cayetano took the microphone as his hostage to lambast Velasco’s supposed dirty tricks in having him removed,” a Daily Tribune source said.

There was no such move, he said.

Atienza also laughed off claims of a coup, calling the claim “coup-pal, or self-coup.”

Talking to his peers, which Teves claimed did not constitute a needed quorum, Cayetano offered to resign from his post after narrating his version of what transpired in their meeting at the Palace.

Members of Nationalist Peoples’ Coalition have agreed not to participate in the proceedings.

President Duterte’s intervention in the speakership squabble ultimately resulted in having Velasco taking over as Speaker on 14 October that was in accordance with the term-sharing deal but seemed opposite of what Cayetano’s camp had hoped for.

“You (addressing Velasco) wanted (to take the position) on 30 September, then okay. If our colleagues want you today, then it is you,” Cayetano said.

“I am offering my resignation here and now to you my dear colleagues. My fate and the fate of the 2021 budget is in your hands,” he continued.

Right after Cayetano left the rostrum, Anakalusugan Partylist Rep. Mike Defensor moved to reject Cayetano’s offer. It was seconded by Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy Alvarado.
Defensor then moved for a nominal vote individually.

Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Barbers, however, said this is not necessary anymore as no “nay” votes were registered even on the virtual meeting.

Session was suspended until Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu declared that a nominal voting will be conducted.

Congressmen were asked to vote whether they accept Cayetano’s resignation.

The lawmakers’ rejection of the Speaker’s resignation was not in accordance with any rule at the Chamber, however.

Tribune sources it was the Cayetano camp’s version of a vote. Instead of having the House split between him and Velasco, however, he received a validation through the rejection of his quit offer.

Malacañang, however, distanced from the latest House event.

President Rodrigo Duterte also made it known that he respects the congressmen’s decision to reject the resignation of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano Wednesday afternoon, saying it is “purely an internal affair” of the Chamber.

Cayetano’s quit offer was rejected by his colleagues, 184-1-9.

But the President still wants Cayetano and Velasco to honor the term-sharing deal he had brokered for the two lawmakers.

“I just received a call from the President and he said, ‘We stay out of that. That’s a purely internal affair of the House of Representatives,’” Roque quoted the President as saying.

Under their agreement last year, Cayetano agreed to lead the House of Representatives for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or until October, while Velasco would assume leadership for the next 21 months.

In the Philippines, the Executive department is a co-equal branch of the Legislature that should be independent from each other.

But President Duterte brokered the deal between Cayetano and Velasco in a bid to put an end to the speakership race which has bugged the House for months.

with MJ Blancaflor
@tribunephl_MJB

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