Veteran party-list Rep. Lito Atienza on Wednesday called on President Duterte not to allow “deceit and shrewdness” to destroy the term-sharing agreement to which three of the top leaders of the House of Representatives – Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez, and Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco – swore to follow.
In a press statement, Atienza slammed Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and his allies for allegedly laying the groundwork to shirk from the agreement that Duterte brokered last year.
“Cayetano did not carry the majority numbers at that time, and Cong. Velasco did not ask for that to be a condition before he agreed to the agreement,” said Atienza.
“Now that his term is about to end and Cong. Velasco is about to begin his, why is the Speaker’s supporters questioning if Cong. Velasco has the numbers. It is totally unfair to make it a condition now,” the independent lawmaker stated.
For two days now, the pro-Cayetano bloc has taken to the floor to campaign for the incumbent House speaker’s continued leadership of the Lower House, pointing out that he has the full support of the majority in the Lower House.
The drumbeating followed an alleged plot to stage a coup against Cayetano over issues of alleged favoritism on the allocation of infrastructure funds to congressional districts.
Cayetano chided Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves for making the accusations, saying that it was part of a political move to unseat him before the term-sharing agreement could take effect.
Under the agreement that Cayetano proposed, he will be allowed to lead the Lower House for 15 months while Velasco will be speaker during the remainder of the three-year term.
The incumbent speaker’s 15-month term will be over on the third or fourth Monday of October.
Atienza said that this early, the President’s intervention is already needed in order to avoid the threat of division that threatened the majority coalition when he brokered the agreement.
“Mr. President, please do not allow the breaking of this gentleman’s agreement to share terms. Otherwise, Congress is doomed to fail if palabra de honor and delicadeza are not followed,” Atienza said.