Cayetano, Velasco, Romualdez 'show unity' before 18th Congress opens
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers set to lead the House of Representatives proclaimed that they were united, as they held a meeting before the opening of the 18th Congress.
In a Facebook Live video of leaders of major political parties on Sunday, July 21, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco said there will be no rift in the House to ensure that President Rodrigo Duterte's agenda is prioritized.
"We're just trying to show everyone na nagkakaisa talaga ang Congress (that Congress is really united). We want to be a unified Congress para naman ma-push namin ang legislative agenda ng ating Pangulo (so we can push the legislative agenda of the President," Velasco said.
"Nakaparami namin dapat tapusin, gawin, kaya starting tomorrow, we'll make sure na walang gusot, smooth ang mangyayari for the next 3 years (There are a lot of things to be completed, done, so starting tomorrow, we'll make sure that everything will be ironed out, smooth for the next 3 years)," he added.
Taguig City-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano is expected to be chosen as House speaker on Monday, July 22. (READ: Lawmakers set aside dislike of Cayetano for Speaker to secure House posts)
Velasco will then take over from Cayetano after 15 months, which the former promised on Sunday would be a "smooth transition." Cayetano also said he is "sincere" in following this arrangement.
Duterte had announced the planned term sharing between Cayetano and Velasco last July 8, amid the heated speakership race. He also said Leyte 1st District Representative Martin Romualdez would become House majority leader. (READ: EXPLAINER: The Philippines' next House Speaker)
Romualdez said unity among House leaders would help them work "for the betterment of [Filipinos'] lives and for the Philippines."
"We, the members of the 18th Congress...resolve to do that, and we're here firmly and united behind you," he said.
Cayetano, meanwhile, asked that the public give lawmakers time "to organize" and talk.
"Just give us some time to organize, to listen to the SONA tomorrow and God-willing po...maganda po ang ating Kongreso (our Congress will be great). So in signing off today, please pray for us for tomorrow, for our nation, for our President," Cayetano added. – Rappler.com