Lawmakers allied with Representative Lord Allan Velasco on Monday, October 12, staged a coup to unseat Alan Peter Cayetano, the latest in the power struggle at the House of Representatives.
Velasco was elected Speaker by 186 legislators during an unprecedented session held at Celebrity Sports Club in Quezon City.
This development came weeks since lawmakers rejected Cayetano’s resignation as speaker after he delivered a scathing privilege speech against Velasco.
Velasco seems to have the last word – at least as of October 12. Rappler looks into his background.
Judiciary and Marinduque gov’t stint
Velasco is a lawyer by profession.
The 42-year-old lawmaker holds an undergraduate degree in business management from the De La Salle University. He obtained his law degree from the University of Santo Tomas and was admitted to the Philippine Bar in 2005.
Velasco then worked at the Supreme Court, first as court attorney and then as judicial staff head, according to his profile.
Working in the judiciary was not a surprise for the young lawyer, who also headed the local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. He is also the son of retired SC associate justice Presbitero Velasco Jr who also held several high-ranking positions prior to being appointed to the High Court in 2006.
Lord Velasco also served as Marinduque provincial administrator under then-governor Jose Antonio Carrion before joining Congress.
It was during this period that he chaired the tourism council of the province and “undertook projects to promote the province as a haven for sports adventure and community-based tourism,” according to his website.
Family of politicians
Velasco was first elected representative of the lone District of Marinduque in 2010, winning against Edmundo Reyes, son of then-incumbent representative Carmencita Reyes – the “nanay” of the province who also held the gubernatorial position for 3 terms.
His election in 2010 was the first foray into politics of the Velasco family. It didn’t take long for them to cement their place in local politics.
In 2013, his mother Lorna joined Congress as representative of AMA party list and served until 2016.
Lorna is the incumbent mayor of Torrijos. The family patriarch, retired justice Presbitero, became Marinduque provincial governor after winning in the 2019 elections. He retired from the Supreme Court in August 2018.
Previous Congress issue
The leadership struggle is not the first tussle for Velasco. He was previously embroiled in an electoral protest 3 years after entering politics.
After first joining Congress in 2010, Velasco tried to get reelected in 2013 but lost to Regina Ongsiako Reyes, a member of the influential Reyes clan in Marinduque.
Velasco protested Reyes’ assumption on the grounds of being a naturalized American citizen. The Commission on Elections canceled Reyes’ certificate of candidacy on the same basis.
Velasco ran again in 2016 and 2019, winning in both instances.
Close to Duterte?
The last 4 years saw Velasco with greater power than ever before, especially since he enjoys close ties with President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
The Velasco family’s victory against the powerful Reyes clan in Marinduque was also attributed to Duterte. (READ: Will the Duterte-backed Velascos prevail in Marinduque?)
Lord Allan Velasco is married to Rowena “Wen” Amara. They have 5 children.
Wen heads the Pilipinong May Puso Foundation, a charity group launched in 2016 that is supposed to support projects in honor of Duterte’s late mother Soledad Roa Duterte. Business tycoon Ramon Ang was known to be the biggest donor of the foundation.
In 2018, Duterte called Velasco the next House Speaker. After almost two years, at least 186 lawmakers elected Velasco to become lord of the House – a move being contested by his nemesis, Alan Peter Cayetano. What happens next? – Rappler.com
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s privilege speech happened on September 20. We have corrected this story to say he delivered it on September 30.