Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said while Marinduque Rep. Lord Velasco has the numbers, his allies should vote for him as Speaker in a special session from October 13 to 17 to formalize the ouster of Taguig Rep. Alan Cayetano.
Lagman was reacting to Velasco’s “election” as Speaker by 186 House members in what he called as a “rump” session outside Batasan on October 12.
“For all intents and purposes, the assembly at the Celebrity Sports Plaza can be considered a show of force or numerical superiority of the Velasco camp. Consequently, the ‘election’ of Velasco has to be legitimized by holding a nominal voting for the new Speaker during any day of the special session,” said Lagman in a statement.
Lagman said that while President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the special session to ensure the passage of the budget derailed by Cayetano’s desperate clinging to power, House members can settle the issue on the retention or change of Speaker in one hour or less “which is a small fraction of the four-day session devoted to the consideration of the national budget.”
Lagman said a Speaker must be elected when the House is in session in open and public plenary proceedings. “Legislative sessions of either the Senate or the House of Representatives cannot be conducted in any other place than in which the two Houses shall be sitting without the consent of the other,” he said.
“Granting that the suspension of the session on October 6, 2020 is invalid, and the sessions continue, the so-called session called at the Celebrity Sports Plaza had no consent of the Senate, and consequently it was not legal and constitutional,” he added.
He said that while the suspension of session from October 6, 2020 up to November 15, 2020 by Cayetano was questionable, the legitimacy of said suspension has not been challenged before the proper forum and there has been no official declaration of its nullity.
“Absence such declaration voiding the questionable suspension, such suspension prevailed when the rump assembly was held. No less than President Duterte has acknowledged the absence of a congressional session,” said Lagman.