He would have become the Speaker at the very start of the 18th Congress but Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco chose loyalty over fame and power.
Velasco, despite a clear voting advantage over Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, agreed to President Duterte’s suggestion to allow Cayetano to become the House leader through a term sharing agreement that would give Cayetano the first 15 months as speaker and the next 21 to him.
The gentleman’s agreement that Duterte brokered was broken as Cayetano, citing a slew of excuses, refused to give up the seat, to the dismay of the Chief Executive and Velasco.
But the Marinduque solon never blamed Cayetano’s actions on the President.
In his acceptance speech to start his possible 21-month journey as House leader, Velasco expressed his gratitude to Duterte for giving him the inspiration to pursue public service.
He said Duterte was truly a man of his word as the Chief Executive had personally reminded Cayetano to heed the gentleman’s agreement he forged between the two last year.
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, who is a close friend of Velasco and his wife, Rowena, reportedly expressed disappointment over the Marinduque solon’s decision to accept the gentleman’s agreement.
Still the young Duterte backed Velasco and continued to give him advice on his impending leadership of the Lower House.
At 42, Velasco is one of the youngest, if not the youngest, congressmen to become speaker.
He represents Marinduque, a small Luzon island, which is now headed by his father, retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. as provincial governor. His mother is former Rep. Lorna Velasco of Ang Mata ay Dapat Ingatan Partylist.
In fact he even had a public service television program dealing on the law entitled “Sa Iyo ang Katarungan” on IBC 13.
The new speaker had wanted to follow in the footsteps of his illustrious father but the lure of politics was too strong that he decided to run as congressman in 2010.
He completed Bachelor of Science in Business Management at the De la Salle University then went on to finish a law degree from the University of the Philippines.
He served as president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Marinduque chapter as a young lawyer.
Apparently, the political influence came from his job as a provincial administrator under former Gov. Jose Antonio Carrion.
He is married to Rowena Amara, with whom he has five children, namely: Sophia, Bella, Ramon, Sara and Lord Jose Maria.
During the 2019 mid-term elections, Velasco volunteered to be the assistant campaign manager of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago senatorial ticket.
In his speech upon his election as speaker, Velasco said he was asked many times why he wanted to lead the Lower House “during the worst possible time” which is the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“The true measure of leadership comes not when things are easy, but especially when things are most difficult. Whether famine or feast, poverty or plenty, a leader will always rise to the challenge and respond to the call of service,” he explained.
The Marinduque lawmaker admitted that his journey to become the speaker was “difficult and complicated” that was made problematic by Cayetano’s refusal to abide by the agreement.
“But then we are all here, and this is a testament to our indomitable spirit and our collective commitment to honoring our word,” he said.
Velasco added: “For what are we, who are we, if we cannot live up to our word? This is not the triumph of one, this is the triumph of everyone who believes that “a promise is a promise!” (Ben R. Rosario)