Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco on Wednesday evening urged his colleagues in the House of Representatives to be men and women of honor by respecting the term-sharing agreement forged by President Rodrigo Duterte between him and Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano for the speakership.
Velasco lamented what he described as the theatrics pulled off by Cayetano in offering his resignation and in its being rejected by a few members of the House in what many lawmakers called a sham proceeding.
He also called on House members to focus on passing the 2021 national budget even as he assured fairness in leadership that gives a premium on unity.
“I express my deepest gratitude to President Duterte for calling the 29 September 2020 meeting and bringing together his key allies in Congress despite his busy schedule,” Velasco said.
“As the Father of the Nation and a true Statesman, the President has once again proven his leadership and steadfast resolve to bridge differences and unite parties regardless of their political affiliations for the country to sail in one direction and to prioritize the welfare of our people,” he said.
“Thank you, Mr. President,” he added.
Velasco reminded Cayetano that it was only last night (Tuesday) that he promised to resign on 14 October when the President ordered him to honor the term-sharing agreement as an “usapang lalaki” or agreement between men.
“Moreover, the President entrusted you with the task of announcing the date of the turnover,” Velasco said, referring to Cayetano.
Velasco said the 14th of October was chosen as the date for the turnover because of their commitment to passing the budget before the said date while doing nothing to disrupt or derail the process.
He thanked Cayetano for confirming the timetable in his privilege speech on Wednesday, as well as the details of their meeting with the President – that he will resign on the 14th.
“It is most unfortunate, therefore, that today, deliberations on the budget were suspended. Instead of focusing on the work at hand, further political maneuverings and theatrics took the budget deliberations hostage,” Velasco said.
“We lost an entire day, and even tomorrow where you have declared that no session will be conducted, which are crucial in meeting our timeline. These attacks and distractions serve no purpose other than to perpetuate what is a purely personal agenda threatening to delay the passage of the budget. This is the truth,” he stressed.
Velasco then called on members of the House to continue their work and pass the budget on 14 October as a commitment they’ve made to the President and as their responsibility to their constituents to deliver to them a “fair and equitable budget.”
“I assure my peers that we will be a gracious leader who would listen and be responsive to your concerns. But I make an earnest plea: Let us uphold the dignity of the House of Representatives by being men and women who believe in “Palabra de Honor” in keeping our word and upholding the term-sharing agreement Speaker Cayetano and I swore to honor and respect,” Velasco said.