President Rodrigo Duterte never announced in a private meeting with lawmakers on September 29 when House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano should resign to give way to Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Politiko learned from someone who attended the talk.
SAGIP party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta shared his recollection of the meeting amid conflicting accounts from Cayetano, Velasco and their respective allies on what transpired.
Marcoleta was one of the eight lawmakers who joined Cayetano at the meeting in Malacanang. Velasco also brought along eight of his allies.
“This is how i saw the event in malacanang unfolded as far as i can recall: PRRD made the opening statement with reference to the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ brokered by him between spkr alan and cong lord,” the party-list lawmaker said.
“In the presence of sen bong go, PRRD even ventured that unlike in the House today, he does not see any presidentiable in the senate. He spoke briefly also on his unexpected presidency. Maybe his opening statement lasted only for 25 minutes,” he added.
After Duterte’s opening remarks, Marcoleta said he and a number of lawmakers were given the chance to speak. To settle the speakership row, he said Duterte met privately with Cayetano and Velasco, along with Go.
The lawmakers they were with, however, waited in another room until the discussions among the four politikos ended.
“Then [Speaker] Alan and cong lord emerged from the room. PRRD did not come out with them to make an announcement. I repeat, PRRD did NOT meet us again to make an announcement,” Marcoleta said.
The party-list lawmaker said he’s curious as to whether any of the 17 lawmakers present at the meeting heard Duterte say when Cayetano should step down.
“There are about 18 members of the House present that evening and I want to know if anyone heard the President announced that cong lord will take over as speaker on october 14. Truth is where it is at. It cannot be arbitrarily taken where one wants it to be,” he said.
Velasco and his allies have insisted that Cayetano should step down as Speaker on October 14, the last session day before Congress goes on a month-long break.
Cayetano offered to resign on September 30 but it was rejected by 184 lawmakers in a plenary vote. His camp said this was already his compliance to the term sharing agreement.
The Speaker’s camp said the rejection of Cayetano’s resignation offer means he has been given a fresh mandate to remain as House leader by lawmakers.