Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said the term-sharing agreement he had with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco still stands.
He, however, said he would let President Rodrigo Duterte decide on the continuity of his leadership after 15 months as Speaker.
In a press briefing, Cayetano said this is because the leadership of Congress is always brought about by the decision of the predominant party or a coalition.
“Now it is a coalition, die-hard Duterte super coalition, or supermajority. Ang head ng coalition na iyan ay ang Pangulo, so while independent ang Kongreso at hindi nakikialam ang Executive, ang nagde-decide for the coalition ay iyung Pangulo (the head of the coalition is the President, so while the Congress is independent and free from intervention from the Executive, the one who decides for the coalition is the President),” the Speaker said on the sidelines of the joint House and Senate site visit at the New Clark City sports facilities.
“So I promised the President, I’ll do a good job and one month or two months before iyung middle or pinag-uusapan (the middle or what has been agreed on), I’ll go to him for instructions, so kung ano ang instruction ng Pangulo, iyun ang masusunod (whatever will be the President’s instructions will be obeyed),” Cayetano said.
Cayetano was reacting to questions about the possibility that he may continue to serve as Speaker after 15 months.
The Taguig-Pateros lawmaker however quickly assured Velasco that he has nothing to worry about, saying there is “no use of talking about something na malayo pa (that is still far away).”
“But wala namang dapat ikabahala iyung kahit sino kasi nga lahat naman tayo ay sumasang-ayon na ang Pangulo ang magde-decide, and so far mayroon siyang (But everybody has nothing to worry about because we have all agreed that the President will decide, and so far, he has a) standing the decision, so far that stands,” Cayetano said.
The House leader said what is important right now is for them to pass the legislative agenda of President Duterte.
“Lahat naman kami, si Majority Leader Martin Romualdez and si Congressman Velasco all agreed dito. So lahat po kami ngayon nakatutok sa trabaho (All of us, even Romualdez and Velasco, are in agreement here. That’s why all of us are hard at work),” Cayetano said.
“And I am working very well with everyone, especially our Majority Leader Martin who is producing in the House,” he added.
President Duterte brokered the term-sharing agreement before the House elected Cayetano last July 22.
Under the agreement, Cayetano would hold the post for 15 months, or up to October next year, after which Velasco takes over.
Also under the agreement, Romualdez will be the House Majority Leader of the 18th Congress for three years.
The possibility of the term-sharing agreement being scuttled was first brought out by Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga following Cayetano’s 64-percent and 62-percent approval and trust ratings in the Pulse Asia survey.
“If Speaker Cayetano sustains his good performance as shown by his high trust and approval ratings in the latest Pulse Asia quarterly report, there would be a groundswell among House members and the public for him to stay on,” he said.
“I am sure he will sustain that performance. There is no reason for him not to. So why change or swap horses in midstream? We might as well retain him as our Speaker for three years until June 30, 2022,” Barzaga said. (PNA)