By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
President Rodrigo Duterte is apparently having doubts on whether or not the term-sharing deal for the House leadership between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will still prosper.
ABS-CBN’s RG Cruz posted an Instagram story of Velasco’s 42nd birthday celebration in San Juan City on Monday, wherein the chief executive said in his speech that it’s up for Cayetano and Velasco if they will honor their gentlemen’s agreement.
“Ewan ko kung matuloy ‘yung kung ‘yan ang usapan term sharing,” said Duterte.
“Nasa inyo na ‘yan if the parties would honor (the agreement),” he added.
Duterte stressed that he was not forcing any congressmen whether it belongs to Cayetano or Velasco’s camp to take a stand whether to invoke the term-sharing deal or not.
“I’m not saying that… I’m not forcing anybody to take a stand. It’s your choice because the agreement and the choice is yours,” said Duterte.
On Monday, Cayetano admitted that he prefers to serve as leader of the House of Representatives for one full term rather than having a term sharing deal with Velasco.
“I’m not a hypocrite na when I ran for Congress, I was running also for the Speaker, and I was running for three years of Speakership,” said Cayetano during Monday’s press conference.
Cayetano stressed he believed that Velasco will have the same personal thoughts and sentiments like him over the term-sharing sharing agreement.
“Kahit naman baliktarin mo yung tanong, kay Cong. Velasco mo itanong: Would you have rather na hindi ka 21 months, kung hindi, you have rather na three years ka? Ang sagot din niya (malaman), yes” said Cayetano.
But for Velasco, he remains confident that the term-sharing deal agreement between him and the former chief diplomat for the House leadership will proceed as plan.
“Based on the gentlemen’s agreement, I will see you next year as the next Speaker of the House,” said Velasco.
“Honestly, sa akin, alam ko tuloy pa rin. An agreement is an agreement. A gentlemen’s agreement is a gentlemen’s agreement.”
The National Unity Party (NUP) congressmen and other lawmakers close to Cayetano earlier said that the agreement may not push through—considering the high trust and approval ratings gained by the former Foreign Affairs secretary during the recent survey released by Social Weather Station (SWS) and Pulse Asia.