Palace confident no budget delays under term-sharing

Malacañang on Tuesday expressed confidence that the proposed term-sharing agreement of Speaker in the House of Representatives would not cause delays in the passage of the 2020 national budget.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo (Photo from Wikipedia)

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he was also confident that the term-sharing arrangement will not affect the passage of crucial bills pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Nag-a-agree na nga iyong tatlo (The three have already agreed). They forged into unity. So how can there be disruption,” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

Panelo was referring to the three speakership aspirants who sought for the President’s endorsement– Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.

On Monday, Malacañang announced that Duterte has endorsed Cayetano and Velasco under term-sharing for House speakership with Cayetano to serve in the first 15 months, and Velasco in the remaining 21 months of the 18th Congress. Romualdez will serve as House Majority Leader.

On July 29, 2018, the House reached a majority vote to install former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as speaker, replacing Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Under Arroyo’s leadership, there was a delay in the passage of the 2019 budget due to the lower chamber making last-minute amendments to the final version of the bill approved by the bicameral conference committee.

Realists

The President’s spokesperson said it was Duterte himself who proposed the 15-21 term-sharing proposal to which they all agreed on.

“All of them were… are realist(s). Kung hindi sila pumayag doon sa ganoong arrangement, eh labo-labo talaga sila, magkakasira-sira sila; iyon ang iniwasan nila (If they didn’t agree to that arrangement, they might never agree, they’ll destroy each other; that’s what they were trying to avoid),” Panelo said.

Panelo noted that the three Speaker bets were ready to agree to whatever suggestion the President would make to end the impasse.

“Whatever the President suggests to them, payag na sila (they will agree on),” he added.

Earlier, Velasco rejected the term-sharing proposal, noting that it would divide the lower chamber.

Panelo, meanwhile, said it will be up to the lawmakers to decide whether to follow the President term-sharing proposal or elect their own House Speaker.

He reiterated that as much as the President refused to meddle on the speakership race, Cayetano, Velasco, and Romualdez had approached him.

“It’s not a question of following the President. It’s them who went to the President and the President made, kumbaga ‘yun ang suggestion niya (in other words, it’s his suggestion),” Panelo said.

“Nasa kanila ‘yan kasi sila naman ang boboto, hindi naman si Presidente. Ayaw ni Presidenteng makialam, eh gusto nila pakialaman niya (It’s up to them because they will elect their Speaker, not the President. The President doesn’t even want to interfere, but they want him to interfere),” he added. (PNA)