Duterte intervened on House leadership row as PDP-Laban leader, not as president, says Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte intervened on the issue about the leadership in the House of Representatives not as president but as the leader of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), his spokesman said on Wednesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told ANC that this was also the reason why the Palace has not come out with any statement regarding the result of Duterte's meeting with House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco regarding the speakership issue on Tuesday night in Malacanang.
"He (Duterte) intervened because he is the party chair of PDP-Laban and allied forces and he facilitated an agreement of sorts between the two contenders. But that's really not the function of a president per se. He did it as party head," he explained.
Under the Constitution, the executive branch headed by the president and the legislative branch should be independent with each other.
Duterte called in the Palace Cayetano and Velasco to settle the row over the speakership. In 2019, the President facilitated the settlement on the House speakership issue to prevent the division among his allies in Congress. Cayetano and Velasco agreed that time to share the House speakership - Cayetano, to serve for 15 months or only until September this year while Velasco for 21 months.
However, there were reports that Cayetano wants to hold on to speakership as more congressmen reportedly have been supporting him.
Roque said it would be Cayetano who would announce the result of the meeting with the President.
"I was specifically instructed what's the agreement last night, it should be the House Speaker who should be announcing it to the public," he said.
He said it would be "awkward" if the announcement on the speakership would come from the Palace.
"It is not the business of the Palace to dictate who the leadership be. There's an agreement that Speaker Cayetano will do the announcement," Roque said, adding that he himself was surprised that there was no pronouncement yet from the House.
Cayetano has yet to issue a statement on the decision that was reached during the meeting with Duterte. But Velasco's camp has said that it was agreed upon that the Marinduque congressman would assume the speakership and the supposed turnover date is October 14. Celerina Monte/DMS