Duterte told Velasco it's his right to run for speakership - Palace
President Rodrigo Duterte has told Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco that it is his right to run for the speakership of the House of Representatives.
In a televised press briefing on Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this was Duterte's message to Velasco who sought for a meeting with the Chief Executive in Malacanang on Monday night.
"I cannot give you more detail other than Congressman Lord Allan sought for permission to run as Speaker," he said when asked of what Duterte and Velasco talked about during their meeting.
"The answer of the President, 'That's your right according to your agreement with Speaker Alan (Peter) Cayetano'," he added.
A squabble over the House speakership arose when Cayetano failed to voluntarily relinquish his post by the end of September based on the term-sharing agreement that Duterte brokered between him and Velasco in 2019.
Based on the deal, Cayetano was supposed to serve as Speaker for 15 months or until last September while Velasco, for the remaining 21 months.
Instead of voluntarily relinquishing the speakership, Cayetano offered to resign recently as the House leader. But his allies opposed this and 184 members of the House voted to reject his offer.
Prior to Velasco's meeting with Duterte and even prior to Cayetano's offer of resignation, the two lawmakers talked with Duterte to settle the speakership row.
According to Velasco's camp, the decision reached during that meeting was for the Marinduque representative to take the House leadership by October 14.
Asked if Duterte gave his blessing to Velasco to still pursue the term-sharing deal with Cayetano, Roque said he did not want to annotate anymore of what Duterte has said to prevent allegation from Velasco's supporters that he was misquoting the President.
"Whatever the President said, that's what I repeated and that's why I will refrain from annotating what has been said," he stressed. Celerina Monte/DMS