Buhay party-list Rep. Lito Atienza said the call of President Duterte on Congress to conduct a four-day special session starting Oct. 13 to ensure the immediate passage of the P4.506-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB) is clearly the Chief Executive’s outright rejection of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s “highly irregular” cancellation of House sessions until Nov. 16.
He said Cayetano’s alleged act of aborting House sessions in a move to sabotage his term-sharing deal with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco did not sit well with Duterte, prodding him to strongly rebuff Cayetano by issuing Proclamation No. 1027 calling Congress to a special session.
“Malacañang has repudiated the Speaker, who is clearly drunk with power, and has become a huge embarrassment and liability to the President,” Atienza said.
“Congressman Cayetano has betrayed the President. He has also double-crossed all the House members who elected him as Speaker in July last year based on the term-sharing agreement blessed by the President no less,” he said.
Atienza said by abruptly calling off House sessions until Nov. 16, Cayetano “had imperiled the passage of the budget bill,” which then prodded the President to act.
He also noted that the cancellation of the House plenary sessions connotes that Cayetano is not willing to relinquish his post on Oct. 14.
“Through all sorts of political machinations, Congressman Cayetano has shamelessly reneged on his solemn promise – made before the President – to step down as Speaker after 15 months and give way to Congressman Velasco,” Atienza said.
The President has issued Proclamation No. 1027 calling on Congress to a special session on Oct. 13 to 16 “to avoid any further delays on the prompt passage” of the 2021 national budget. The issuance of a proclamation was made a day after Duterte warned that he would step in to solve the House leadership squabble that was impeding the immediate approval of the GAB.
Atienza said Cayetano gave in to a term-sharing covenant with Velasco since he knew that he did not have enough numbers to get elected as Speaker in July 2019.
“Anybody who has doubts about the clarity of the conditions of the term-sharing should revisit the news videos of the President’s July 8, 2019 address in Malacañang, when he laid out the terms,” he said.