Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday gave a public apology to President Duterte over his high-profle quarrel with Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, but insisted that it was all the latter’s fault.

cayetano - Cayetano apologizes to the President for Speakership squabble, but says it’s Velasco’ fault
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

“Simple lang naman ang upak sa ‘yo–tamad at absent (The criticisms against you are simple–you’re lazy and always absent),” Cayetano said in reference to his Speakership rival Velasco during a speech before the House plenary.

He said Velasco can easily address these alleged shortcomings by “being not lazy and going to work at the House of Representatives.”

“‘Di ba? Insulto pa kapag sinabing tamad ka, tapos araw-araw (kang pumapasok). Ako, pag mag-presscon ako at sabihin kong tamad si (Majority Leader) Martin Romualdez, eh isa sa pinakamasipag dito si Martin Romualdez, eh di ako mukhang tanga (Am I right? It would be an insult if they say you’re lazy, but then you’re here every day. If I held a presscon and accused Martin Romualdez of being lazy, I’d look like a fool because Martin Romualdez is one of the most industrious people here),” noted Cayetano.

As if noticing the vitriol in his tone, the Speaker said: “I sincerely apologize to the President that he had to hear that. And just like Congressman Velasco, I’m sorry to our people that we have to do this at this time.”

“Kung sumunod lang siya sa usapan na November ang palitan, kung marunong lang siya magbilang na hanggang October po talaga ako, eh di wala sanang problem (Had he only followed the agreement that the turnover was November, had he only known how to count and realize that my term was up to October, there would have been no problem),” added the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker. 

President Duterte last year brokered the term-sharing pact between his two allies Cayetano and Velasco for the coveted Speakership. As per the deal, Cayetano will be the Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco will serve as the House chief for the succeeding 21 months.

Cayetano, who was elected Speaker on July 22, 2019, has said that his tenure would last until the end of October, 2020. But Velasco claimed last week that he was slated to take over the chamber’s helm on September 30.

Duterte and his two House allies then held a meeting in Malacañang last September 29 wherein an October 14 turnover date was approved. This was reportedly Velasco’s second preferred date.

Cayetano reiterated Tuesday that the President himself had pleaded to Velasco that the turnover be moved to December to ensure the smooth passage of the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021. However, the Marinduque solon refused to budge.

“I think his apology is hilaw (half-cooked) and insincere, why? Kasi nag-sorry ka, eh banat nang banat araw-araw yung mga tao mo tungkol sa budget. Nang-iintriga kayo tungkol sa budget (He apologized but then his supporters criticize the budget process every day. You create issues on the budget),” the incumbent Speaker said referring to an apology Velasco gave last Friday through his Facebook account.

The House passed the proposed budget on second reading Tuesday afternoon following Cayetano’s motion to abruptly terminate the plenary deliberations on the budget bill. The sessions were also suspended until November 16, 2020, meaning Velasco won’t have a chance to call for a Speakership vote on October 14.

October 14 was supposed to be the final day of budget plenary debates, after which the 299-member chamber would suspend sessions and go on break. 

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