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Hindi atat! Duterte’s party defends Velasco from ouster plot rumors

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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

The ruling PDP Laban party has denied that the leader of their Lower House contingent, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco has been plotting the ouster of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.

In a statement, PDP spokesman and House Deputy Speaker Johnny Pimentel said Velasco “is not in a rush” to take over the speakership.

“Congressman Velasco is not in a rush to become the Speaker. It is just a few months away so it doesn’t make any sense if we do something that will just break the peace,” said Pimentel.

Cayetano on Thursday claimed that Velasco is behind a brewing coup in the House of Representatives.

In an ambush interview in Taguig City, Cayetano said Velasco has offered funds and chairmanships to congressmen in exchange of supporting a leadership scuffle to topple him.

“Nangangako ng pondo at chairmanships at ‘yung iba, s’ya mismo kausap,” said Cayetano.

Velasco already denied the allegations, saying he will abide with term sharing agreement between him and the Taguig-Pateros congressman.

For his part, Pimentel added that PDP being the political party President Rodrigo Duterte “will continue to work harmoniously” with Cayetano.

Pimentel insisted that Velasco and the ruling party “would abide by the power-sharing agreement” that was agreed between Cayetano and the Marinduque solon, as requested by President Duterte himself.

“PDP-Laban will not do anything or start anything that is not in line with the wishes of the President,” the lawmaker from Surigao del Sur added.

Based on the term-sharing agreement that was worked out by the President, Cayetano will get 15 months and Velasco 21 months as House Speaker.

With the said agreement, Cayetano is expected to relinquish the speakership in favor of Velasco in October this year.

“We definitely have no intention to walk away from this agreement. We have a very good working relationship with Speaker Cayetano and we intend to keep it that way,” said Pimentel.

“Whoever is behind all these loose talks about a coup against the Speaker must have a different agenda,” he added.

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