With President Duterte in the middle, Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano vowed to step down as leader of the House of Representatives, reportedly to give way to the ascent of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to the vacancy and ultimately honor the 15-21 term sharing pact brokered by the Chief Executive last year.
Although no one is talking about what transpired in the Malacanang meeting of the two House leaders, some indicators and sources say Cayetano is stepping down, as agreed.
Duterte met his two top allies in the Lower House to discuss the leadership change controversy in Malacanang on Tuesday evening. Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go was also present in the said meeting.
As of press time, no statement has been released by Malacanang to confirm or deny the reported outcome of the caucus, with Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque saying it is up to the House of Representatives to announce what has been discussed.
Neither the Cayetano nor the Velasco camp has released an official statement.
“Bawal muna kami magsalita pero October 14, APC will resign. (We have been barred to talk but APC (Cayetano) will resign on October 14),” a senior congressman revealed in a viber message to Manila Bulletin.
However, another source who was privy to developments at the Palace said that Velasco will take over upon Cayetano’s resignation.
In a Twitter post, PDP-Laban executive Ron Munsayac said: “Tapos na ang boksing,” indicating an end to the term-sharing controversy.
Duterte stepped into the problem by inviting Cayetano and Velasco and their respective key allies to the caucus.
The President made the move when it became clear that Cayetano is not going to give up his seat.
This was confirmed by the signing by 202 House members of a manifesto declaring their support for Cayetano’s continued leadership of the Lower House.
The outgoing House leader has also accused Velasco of plotting numerous times his ouster as speaker.
Velasco, head of the PDP-Laban contingent in the Lower House, never responded to the accusations despite Cayetano’s decision to sack the alleged ouster plot ring leaders – Reps. Isidro Ungab as chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and Salvador Leachon as head of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.