House of Representatives

Velasco asked Duterte’s permission to run for Speaker – Roque

Pia Ranada

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Velasco asked Duterte’s permission to run for Speaker – Roque

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte listens as Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Jay Velasco shares some remarks during a meeting with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and several members of the House of Representatives at the Malacañang Golf (MALAGO) Clubhouse in Malacañang Park, Manila on September 29, 2020. The President called on Cayetano and Velasco, who were accompanied by their respective partymates and supporters in the Lower House, to discuss matters affecting Congress lately. ROBINSON NIÑAL/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

But President Duterte only tells his ally from Marinduque that it's his 'right' to seek the speakership

Embattled Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco has turned to Malacañang once again to make his speakership dreams come true.

Velasco met with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night, October 5, to seek the Chief Executive’s permission for him to run for House Speaker.

But Duterte’s response was far from all-out support, based on Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque’s statement on how the meeting went.

Humingi po ng permiso si Congressman Lord Allan para tumakbo bilang Speaker at ang sagot ng Presidente, ‘Karapatan mo ‘yan sang-ayon sa kasunduan ninyo kay Speaker Alan Cayetano,'” said Roque on Tuesday, October 6.

(Congressman Lord Allan asked permission to run for Speaker and the President’s response was, ‘That’s you’re right based on your agreement with Speaker Alan Cayetano.’)

It was Velasco who asked for a meeting with Duterte, added Roque. The meeting began around 10 pm. Though the Duterte response Roque gave to the public was brief, the meeting itself stretched for hours, according to Oriental Mindoro 1st District Representative Doy Leachon, a Velasco ally. He said the meeting ended past 3 am.

Asked if Duterte made any commitment to Velasco that he would talk to his allies in the House to support the Marinduque lawmaker’s bid, Roque said he did not want to say anything other than the brief verbatim response he got from the President.

‘Father and son conversation’

In a statement, Leachon described the meeting between the President and Velasco as “more casual and like a father-son conversation.”

“The President was categorical when he said, ‘Lord, it is your right time now. I have already spoken. You have to insist your right based on the term sharing agreement,'” Leachon added.

He said this is the reason why the Velasco camp expect Cayetano to abide by the term-sharing deal and resign on October 14 because by then, “his time is already up.”

Leachon added that the accomplishments of the House under Cayetano is not to be credited solely to the Speaker but to the collective effort of the “Super Majority Coalition.”

“The Super Majority does not belong to Speaker Cayetano but allied with the President of which PDP Laban is the largest bloc in the coalition and for anyone who would renege on the term sharing agreement from any member of the coalition is actually defying the wishes of the President,” Leachon said.

“Whatever accomplishments of the House of Representatives are the collective efforts of all the members of the Super Majority Coalition because we cooperated with the House leadership and we are likewise grateful to Speaker Cayetano for steering Congress during those times as the anointed one who first assumed as a speaker based on the term sharing agreement,” he added.

Velasco and his allies have previously claimed that Duterte had agreed to a turnover of House leadership on October 14.

This is contrary to Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s claim that no such date was agreed upon and that Duterte even pushed for a December turnover to Velasco because the Chief Executive didn’t want any delays to the passage of the 2021 national budget.

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But a week ago, October 2, Cayetano had also met with Duterte, right after he was victorious in ensuring his continued speakership.

In the meeting, Duterte had reiterated his position that he would not interfere in House affairs given that a majority of lawmakers already voted to reject Cayetano’s resignation as Speaker.

However, Duterte has told both Cayetano and Velasco that he wanted the term-sharing deal between them honored to preserve unity among his House allies. – With reports from Mara Cepeda/

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.