Cayetano concedes: House adopts Velasco election as Speaker

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  • THE House of Representatives yesterday formally adopted the election of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as Speaker and unseated Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, who has was left with no choice but to give up the post that he held for the last 15 months.

    On the motion of deputy majority leader Juan Pablo Bondoc of Pampanga, a total of 186 lawmakers voted to ratify the election of Velasco to remove doubts hounding the new Speaker’s election at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City last Monday, which Cayetano and his group earlier called “fake” and “illegal” since it was not in accordance with the House rules.

    “This is for our people, for this august body and the institution we call Congress, for the word of honor of our beloved President Duterte, and for God who makes all this happen,” said Velasco who stood at the rostrum for the first time as the leader of the Lower House. “We will not let you down.”

    The session was held late in the morning after Velasco’s allies had the plenary door’s lock destroyed, a few hours before the scheduled special session at 3 p.m. for the resumption of floor deliberations on the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget for 2021.

    In a Facebook Live video, Cayetano conceded, saying that while he was tendering his “irrevocable resignation,” he would continue to help the administration and the new House leadership in passing the budget which has been caught in the middle of the speakership fight when he suspended the session a week before the October 16 schedule set by the Legislative Calendar.

    “We’re okay, we will continue to help but right now, verbally, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation as the Speaker of the House of the Republic of the Philippines,” Cayetano said.

    Cayetano said he was leaving “with a clear conscience” because “I have done my best, I have given my all, I leave with no regrets, and I hold no rancor in my heart towards anyone.”

    The former House leader noted that until Monday night, he had more than 150 supporters while Velasco supposedly only had more than 120. He earlier raised suspicion that there were “flying voters” who signified support for both him and Velasco because while there are only 299 lawmakers, 200 signed a manifesto of support to retain him and 186 voted for the new speaker.

    Cayetano reminded his colleagues that they still have to formally elect Velasco on the floor before the budget deliberations, vowing that his camp will not resort to any “political maneuvers and tactics.”

    He also apologized to the President “if I misunderstood him,” saying he was wrong to assume that Duterte wanted him to finish the budget and wait for it to be signed onto law in December before stepping down.

    “Mr. President, if I made a mistake, my reading was wrong, I misunderstood that you wanted me to continue and finish the budget, I apologize. It was not my intention – never – not to follow you,” Cayetano said. “(That’s) on me, that’s not on the President.” (W. Vigilia, Malaya)

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