Duterte ends Cayetano-Velasco speakership row

President Rodrigo Duterte met with Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his rival Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Tuesday evening, September 29, to settle the two lawmakers' stalemate over the speakership.

Rappler confirmed that Duterte ended the impasse between Cayetano and Velasco, but sources from both camps, as of 11 pm on Tuesday, had issued conflicting statements on the decision reached.

On Wednesday, lawmakers confirmed that Duterte wants Velasco to become Speaker, in accordance with the term-sharing agreement he brokered a year ago.

Duterte first held a meeting with just Cayetano, Velasco, and his longtime aide and now Senator Bong Go at around 6 pm.

The Chief Executive eventually also spoke to the larger group of 17 lawmakers, including Cayetano and Velasco. So far, no one has told media what exactly transpired in the smaller meeting.

"Tapos na ang boksing (The boxing is over)," tweeted PDP-Laban spokesman Ron Munsayac on Tuesday evening.

When asked if it is safe to say Duterte has resolved the speakership dispute, Go told Rappler, "Parang ganu'n na po (That seems to be the case)."

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Cayetano, not Malacañang, will confirm the meeting’s outcome. "It's for the House leadership to announce."

But House committee on good government and public accountability chair Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado – who attended the meeting – claimed Duterte did not give a clear decision on the speakership row. 

Sy-Alvarado was part of Cayetano's entourage.

"Wala po siyang sinabi (He didn't mention anything)," Sy-Alvarado said of Duterte. 

He said the President, however, wants all parties to be "united for the sake of the country."

Term-sharing deal

Cayetano and Velasco were supposed to "share" the speakership by dividing their months in office, but Cayetano appeared bent on breaching this deal. Duterte, who brokered this term-sharing agreement, was expected to break the impasse.

The House supermajority and minority blocs issued manifestos on Sunday, September 27, to throw their support behind Cayetano, who was Duterte's running mate in the 2016 elections.

Velasco, on the other hand, urged Cayetano to uphold their "crystal-clear" term-sharing deal.

Lawmakers said the following were present in Tuesday’s meeting:

Cayetano Camp
  • Taguig City-Pateros 2nd District Rep Lani Cayetano
  • Majority Leader Martin Romualdez
  • Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte
  • Deputy Speaker Rodante Marcoleta
  • Pampanga 2nd District Rep Mikey Arroyo
  • House committee on accounts chair Abraham Tolentino
  • House committee on good govt and public accountability chair Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado
Velasco Camp
  • Ilocos Sur 2nd District Representative Kristine Singson for Northern Luzon Alliance
  • 1-Pacman Representative Mikee Romero and AAMBIS-OWA Rep Sharon Garin for the party-list bloc
  • Abang Lingkod Representative Joseph Stephen Paduano for the Visayas bloc
  • Quezon 1st District Representative Mark Enverga and Rizal 1st District Representative Michael Duavit for NPC
  • Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel and Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Doy Leachon for PDP-Laban

– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.