Nearly 200 congressmen, comprising the majority of the House of Representatives, agreed to launch a coup to unseat Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Monday, October 12.

ALAN CAYETANO - 200 lawmakers agree to launch House coup to unseat Cayetano
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (Alan Peter Cayetano / Facebook page/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Gathering at the Celebrity Sports Plaza as the jump-off point, the group is expected to proceed at 10 a.m. to the Lower House plenary hall to conduct a session and install Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the new speaker.

The lawmakers’ decision to elect Velasco is strengthened by a joint manifesto signed by top leaders of the various coalitions and political parties comprising the majority bloc.

The group was expected to declare all seats vacant, as stated in the manifesto.

This will pave the way for Velasco to be elected speaker today although there is no scheduled session.

Under President Duterte’s proclamation, special sessions will take place starting Tuesday (October 13) to October 16.

“In accordance with Section 13, Rule 3 of the Rules of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress, we call to assemble, move to, and cast our vote to declare the position of Speaker VACANT on Monday, October 12, 2020,” the manifesto stated.

It added: “Further, also in accordance with the same Section, we will move to and cast our vote to declare Representative Lord Allan Velasco of Marinduque as Speaker of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress.”

“Finally, after establishing the stability among the ranks of Members of the House of Representatives and all being ready to do their constitutional mandate as legislators, in accordance with Proclamation No. 1027 issued by the President of the Republic of the Philippines, to resume the congressional deliberations on the proposed 2021 national budget and to avoid further delays,” the signatories of the manifesto said.

The joint manifesto was entitled: “ A UNITED CALL OF SOLID MAJORITY OF 187 HOUSE MEMBERS TO ASSEMBLE, TO ELECT REPRESENTATIVE LORD ALLAN Q. VELASCO AS THE NEW SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON MONDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2020 AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROCLAMATION NO. 1027 OF PRESIDENT RODRIGO ROA DUTERTE, TO RESUME BUDGET DELIBERATIONS & APPROVE WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY THE HOUSE BILL NO. 7727 OR THE GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL OF 2021.”

Signatories included: For Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. – Rep. Mikee Romero; PDP LABAN — Reps. Doy Leachon (Oriental Mindoro); Eric Martinez (Valenzuela City) and Juan Pablo Bondoc (Pampanga) and Joey Sarte Salceda (Albay); Hugpong ng Pagbabago — Rep. Isidro Ungab (Davao City); Nationalist People’s Coalition — Jack Duavit (Rizal) Mark Enverga (Quezon) and Wes Gatchalian (Valenzuela City); Minority — Lito Atienza Jr. (Buhay Partylist); Northern Luzon Alliance — Rep. Kristine Singson Meehan (Ilocos Sur); Visayas Bloc — Jose Francisco Benitez (Negros Occidental); Mindanao — Rep. Rufus Rodriguez (Cagayan de Oro City); Nacionalista Party — Rep. Munir Arbison (Sulu), and Liberal Party — Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City).

On Sunday, Majority Leader Martin Romualdez also hinted his support for the installation of Velasco as speaker when he issued a press statement on the issue.

“Politics such as the Speakership issue will be tackled after the passage of the national budget to assure a smooth transition,” he said, apparently supportive of the implementation of the 15-21 gentleman’s agreement for the speakership between Cayetano and Velasco.

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