Rumors of a coup against House Speaker Lord Allan Jay Velasco are gaining buzz after he removed a number of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s allies from leadership posts.
Cayetano hinted Thursday (November 19) that Velasco’s move might cause disgruntlement among lawmakers as he reminded his rival about his promise to President Rodrigo Duterte about keeping the status quo in the House when he becomes Speaker.
Under the term sharing agreement for the speakership, only the position of accounts committee chairman will be changed when Velasco succeeds Cayetano.
“Ako po ay witness na buhay na sa harap ng Pangulo ay nangako po si Congressman Velasco na walang tanggalan,” Cayetano said in an interview in Bulacan.
The Taguig lawmaker, who was ousted in controversial proceedings done outside Batasang Pambansa last week, said Velasco’s move to replace House leaders may have ruffled feathers.
“Alam nyo po, 80-90% sa Kongreso, supportive po sa administrasyon, it doesn’t matter kung malapit sila kay Alan Cayetano o kay Allan Velasco, ang importante po, isang team lang kami sa administrasyon, so sana po, huli na sana yun at maayos na kasi hindi ko talaga masabi yung mangyayari dahil hindi ko naman kontrolado ang kalooban ng lahat ng kongresista,” Cayetano said.
Velasco replaced three of Cayetano’s allies as Deputy Speakers during the November 18 session. Those who lost their posts were: Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez. Taking their posts were the Speaker’s allies, namely: Cagayan De Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar and Buhay Party-list Rep. Lito Atienza.
Villar, however, declined her designation as Deputy Speaker. She is Cayetano’s party mate from the Nacionalista Party (NP).
Velasco also replaced Kabayan party-list Rep. Ron Salo as head of the House contingent to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal. His post was given to Caloocan Rep. Along Malapitan.