Duterte Allies Break Impasse on Philippine House Leadership

(Bloomberg) — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives broke an impasse on the chamber’s leadership Tuesday, ahead of a special session called to pass next year’s 4.5 trillion-peso ($93 billion) budget.



Alan Peter Cayetano wearing a suit and tie: Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.


© Photographer: NOEL CELIS/AFP
Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano stands on the rostrum as new Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 18th Congress opening at the House of Representatives in Manila.

Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano on Facebook said he’s resigning as House Speaker, as the election of his challenger Lord Allan Velasco was formalized by 186 lawmakers. Duterte will meet the two lawmakers this afternoon to push for the approval of the 2021 budget, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a separate briefing.

Philippines’ 2021 Budget Hangs as Duterte House Allies Clash

The resolution of the House leadership row removes a hurdle in the passage of next year’s budget, which is seen to help boost the economy that Central Bank Governor Benjamin Diokno said may shrink more than expected this year by up to 9%.

Cayetano and Velasco entered into a term-sharing deal last year, where the latter will be speaker starting next month. The rivalry resurfaced last month when an ally of Velasco accused Cayetano of allocating more infrastructure funds to some lawmakers — an allegation he denied.

(Adds comment from Duterte spokesman, more details from 2nd paragraph)

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Duterte warns he’ll intercede if House squabble risks budget

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president warned Thursday he will intercede and resolve a leadership row in the House of Representatives if the impasse threatens to stall the passage of next year’s budget during the coronavirus crisis.

President Rodrigo Duterte did not elaborate on what he would do if House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco fail to end their rivalry over leadership of the 300-member legislative chamber. Duterte appeared on TV to air his warning with top military and police officials behind him.

“Either you resolve the issue on your impasse there and pass the budget legally and constitutionally and if you don’t do it, I’ll do it for you,” Duterte said.

“Think of the Filipinos who are in the hospital and need medicine and those who may die at this time without medicine, without anything,” Duterte said, adding he should not be dragged into the leadership squabble.

Velasco said he should assume the speakership by Oct. 14 under a power-sharing deal brokered by Duterte. But Cayetano demanded that Velasco prove he has the backing of most legislators, then abruptly allowed the suspension of congressional sessions until Nov. 16, pre-empting any attempt to wrest control of Congress from him.

Cayetano’s camp steered the initial approval of the proposed 2021 national budget amounting to 4.5 trillion pesos ($90 billion), then announced the congressional break. Several lawmakers protested that they were deprived of their right to scrutinize the budget and called for an immediate resumption of congressional sessions.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman said deliberations on the proposed budgets for the Department of Health and other agencies have not been concluded and were overrun by the leadership squabble.

The Philippines has reported the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia at more than 331,000, with more than 6,000 deaths.

Duterte has realigned budgets from the defense department and other agencies and resorted to borrowing to finance massive efforts to address the pandemic and provide aid to millions of people displaced by months of lockdowns and quarantine.

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Duterte warns he’ll intercede if House squabble risks budget

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine president warned Thursday he will intercede and resolve a leadership row in the House of Representatives if the impasse threatens to stall the passage of next year’s budget during the coronavirus crisis.

President Rodrigo Duterte did not elaborate on what he would do if House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Rep. Lord Allan Velasco fail to end their rivalry over leadership of the 300-member legislative chamber. Duterte appeared on TV to air his warning with top military and police officials behind him.

“Either you resolve the issue on your impasse there and pass the budget legally and constitutionally and if you don’t do it, I’ll do it for you,” Duterte said.


“Think of the Filipinos who are in the hospital and need medicine and those who may die at this time without medicine, without anything,” Duterte said, adding he should not be dragged into the leadership squabble.

Velasco said he should assume the speakership by Oct. 14 under a power-sharing deal brokered by Duterte. But Cayetano demanded that Velasco prove he has the backing of most legislators, then abruptly allowed the suspension of congressional sessions until Nov. 16, pre-empting any attempt to wrest control of Congress from him.

Cayetano’s camp steered the initial approval of the proposed 2021 national budget amounting to 4.5 trillion pesos ($90 billion), then announced the congressional break. Several lawmakers protested that they were deprived of their right to scrutinize the budget and called for an immediate resumption of congressional sessions.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman said deliberations on the proposed budgets for the Department of Health and other agencies have not been concluded and were overrun by the leadership squabble.

The Philippines has reported the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia at more than 331,000, with more than 6,000 deaths.

Duterte has realigned budgets from the defense department and other agencies and resorted to borrowing to finance massive efforts to address the pandemic and provide aid to millions of people displaced by months of lockdowns and quarantine.

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