Cayetano concedes to Velasco, resigns as House Speaker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 13) — Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano ended weeks of leadership tug-of-war at the House of Representatives when he offered his irrevocable resignation as House Speaker on Tuesday — acknowledging the election of his archnemesis Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

As Velasco's election was ratified, Cayetano said he is quietly stepping down — avoiding any more ruckus in the House that was divided due to the speakership squabble.

"Verbally, I am tendering my irrevocable resignation as the speaker of the House of the Republic of the Philippines," Cayetano said on Facebook Live. "At 3 p.m., elect your new speaker and pass the budget... Walang maneuvers at political tactics na mangyayari diyan (There will be no political maneuvers or tactics)."

In a separate post, he claimed he decided to step down following President Rodrigo Duterte's stern reminder to set aside politics in the speakership issue and focus on the timely passage of the 2021 national budget.

Duterte brokered a term-sharing deal between his two close allies Cayetano and Velasco in 2019. Tensions escalated in recent weeks as Cayetano was supposed to vacate the top seat in line with his prescribed 15 months in power, but he suspended plenary sessions until mid-November — increasing the possibility of a budget delay.

Taking matters into their own hands, Velasco's allies on Monday staged a "session" outside the House of Representatives, where 186 lawmakers declared the speakership post vacant and elected Velasco.

As the issue became more out of hand, Cayetano claimed he decided to give way to Velasco to ensure the passage of the P4.5-trillion General Appropriations Bill. Based on his meetings with the President, he said he understood that he was going to turn over the top post once the 2021 national budget has been passed. He profusely apologized to Duterte if he misunderstood his orders.

"Mr. President, if I made a mistake, kung mali po ang reading ko, if I misunderstood na ituloy at tapusin ko ang budget, ako'y humihingi ng paumanhin," Cayetano said. "Hindi ko intention na hindi ka sundin."

[Translation: Mr. President, if I made a mistake, if I misunderstood that you wanted me to complete the budget deliberations first, I am apologizing. It was not my intention to disobey you.]

He previously offered to resign before the date agreed upon during the two lawmakers' meeting with Duterte. Some viewed the move as Cayetano taking hostage the budget deliberations.

He added that the 15-21 term-sharing deal meant he will talk to Duterte 15 months after his appointment to determine the next actions to take on the speakership, and not to turn over the post to Velasco after the said period.

He said he is stepping down to uphold the gentlemen's agreement between the three of them. He also urged Velasco to keep his "palabra de honor" to retain the appointed deputy speakers and committee chairpersons in the House.