House ratifies Velasco’s election as new House Speaker

Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday formally ratified the election of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco as the new Speaker.

During a plenary session inside the Batasang Pambansa Complex in Quezon City, a total of 186 lawmakers voted to ratify Velasco’s election as the House’s top leader, formally replacing Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.

The ratification of the election was held to remove doubts about the validity of Velasco’s assumption to the speakership post after he was named as the chamber’s top leader during a remote session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on Monday.

In a speech, Velasco noted that the 15-21 term-sharing agreement that was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte at the start of the 18th Congress last year was a “bond of honor stronger than any written contract.”

“The rejection of the agreement is a rejection of the palabra de honor, and likewise, a rejection of Mayor President Rodrigo Roa Duterte himself,” he said.

Under the term-sharing deal brokered by Duterte, Cayetano would serve as House Speaker for the first 15 months, or until October 2020, while Velasco would take over and assume the position for the remaining 21 months or until the 18th Congress ends in 2022.

However, Cayetano’s move to abruptly suspend the session has prevented the speakership takeover of Velasco on October 14.

Following the ratification of Velasco’s election, Cayetano tendered his resignation as Speaker of the House.

 Duterte has called for a special session from October 13 to 16 to prevent a delay in the passage of the proposed 2021 national budget.In a message to reporters, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that “Duterte has called Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for a meeting at 12:30 p.m. in Malago today (Tuesday) regarding the passage of the 2021 budget.”

In a virtual Palace presser, Roque said he believes that the meeting would still push through despite the ratification of Velasco’s election as the new Speaker. (PNA)

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