(Eagle News) – “Resolve this impasse, or I’ll do it for you.”
A visibly disappointed and tired-looking President Rodrigo Duterte gave this warning to two lawmakers at odds over the House Speakership position– current House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco — on Thursday night, Oct. 8.
In a televised address to the nation, the President said that he was forced to come out to say what he felt about the issue that threatened to put in peril the government’s proposed national budget for next year to address the COVID-19 crisis.
He also expressed disappointment about the impasse which, according to him, could leave a bad mark for his administration.
“Hindi ho ito scheduled meeting. Kaya lang with the present impasse ngayon sa Kongreso, mapipilitan po ako. Ang kuwento po naman simple lang,” he said.
“Tayo nagpahalal sa tao kasi gusto nating magsilbii sa ating bayan,” Duterte said.
“Iyong iba naniniwala sa hangarin natin. Iyong iba naman, the ever cynic, sabi nila gusto lang natin pera. Pero whatever it is kung anong nasa isip ng lahat o isang tao ako po’y magsasabi ng aking nasa anong nasa loob ko,” the President said expressing how the politicking in Congress is creating a bad impression.
“I ran for president with the heart and mind na gusto kong magsilbi, but of course in serving I would have wanted to give the best na kaya ko sa pagkatao ko.”
Duterte said he wanted to be remembered as a good president for the sake of his children and grandchildren – and to be remembered as a president who was elected by the people, and who tried his best to serve the people.
“Sa limitadong pinag-aralan ko, gusto kong malaala at hindi para sa inyo, para sa mga anak ko na lang at mga apo, na minsan sa buhay ko, tumakbo akong presidente nanalo ako dahil inalala ako ng tao.”
He said he wanted to do just what is right as a legacy for his children and grandchildren.
-House Speakership fight not helping administration, says Duterte-
But he said the Cayetano-Velasco bickering is not helping his administration.
“Now you would notice dito sa ating bayan na kung magka leche-leche, hindi rin sila mag tanong kung sino ang may kagagawan or responsible for the mess that we are in right now. Wala silang pakeelam ang malaala lang nila ay sa panahon ni Duterte, napakabaho,” the President explained.
“They do not mention — ay! yung si Alan, o dun sa Congress, o si Lord (Alan Velasco) Wala! Ang sasabihin administasyon ni Duterte,” he noted.
“Ako naman, di naman ako masyadong ambisyoso, pero gusto ko maganda yung administrasyon kung kaya ko rin lang pagandahin,” Duterte said.
-“Huwag ninyo akong idamay sa away ninyo”
He warned the two lawmakers that he does not want to be dragged into the mess they are creating.
“Pero huwag na nyo akong idamay sa away ninyo, tapos in the future, the people will be asking what happened to the administration of Duterte or the administration of Arroyo or of Aquino or of Ramos. Di man sila magtanong kung sino mga tao dun responsible for the haywire administration of a certain period, gaya ko, sa panahon ko, gusto kong maglingkod sa bayan na walang masabi akin,” he explained.
“Kaya nakikiusap ako sa mga kasama ko sa gobyerno, yung hinalal lalo na. na huwag naman ninyo akong idamay. Ako gusto ko, kayo hndi. Diyan tayo magkaroon ng problema,” he said.
Duterte then explained how the country is facing so many problems right now, because of the pandemic, and how people are dying in homes and hospitals.
-Duterte: Pass budget legally, constitutionally-
He said this is why it is important for the budget to be passed legally and constitutionally.
“Wala pa naman akong kalokohang nakita, pero huwag naman sana ninyong sobrahan ang laro sa congress na ang budget mismo ang malagay sa alanganin,” he said.
The President said he is also making an appeal to Cayetano and Velasco who remain at odds despite having met with the President previous to his pronouncement.
“Gusto ko lang sabihin in one straight statement: Either you resolve the issue sa impasse nyo dyan, and pass the budget legally and constitutionally. Pag hindi ninyo ginawa, ako ang gagawa para sa inyo,” Duterte warned.
“Hindi ako nananakot. Wala akong ambisyong manakot. Wala rin akong ambisyong tatagal dito sa puestong ito —- na puro problema. Wala akong hangarin.”
“Basta sinasabi ko lang. If you do not solve the problem, then I will solve the problem for you,” he said.
Duterte told the lawmakers that they seemed to be forgetting the real issue at stake – the people, the Filipino public who need the funds to address COVID-19-related problems.
“You always forget that, there is something more, higher than just delaying or maneuvering in congress because everybody wants to be speaker,” he said.
“I am not going to give a timeline. Mga diktador lang ang gumagawa ng ganun. Gusto ko na ayusin ninyo. If and when I see that there will be a delay and it will result in the derailment of government service, I will solve the problem for you,” Duterte warned.
-Cayetano suspends House sessions until Nov. 16-
Before this, on Oct. 6, Cayetano suspended House hearings and forced an early break for House sessions after the passage on second reading of House Bill 7727 or the proposed PhP4.506 trillion national budget or the General Appropriations Bill for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021.
The sessions were suspended until 3 p.m. of Nov. 16, although the official House calendar showed that the break was supposed to start on Oct. 17.
This came about after a supposed meeting between President Duterte with Rep. Velasco late night of Oct. 5 where the lawmaker allegedly expressed his intention to run for House Speakership on Oct. 14 as had been previously agreed upon in a supposed “gentleman’s agreement” with Cayetano.
The term-sharing deal supposedly brokered by the President in July last year involved Cayetano leading the House of Representatives for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, to be followed by Velasco taking over the speakership position for the next 21 months.
-Roque confirms Velasco met with Duterte on Oct 5-
On Oct. 6, at around noon, Palace spokesperson Harry Roque confirmed that Velasco had met with the President the previous night.
“Well, I cannot give you more detail other than humingi po ng permiso si Congressman Lord Allan para tumakbo bilang Speaker at ang sagot po ng Presidente, ‘Karapatan mo iyan sang-ayon sa kasunduan ninyo kay Speaker Alan Cayetano.’,” Roque recalled.
“Ang alam ko po, si Congressman Allan Velasco ang humingi ng meeting at napagbigyan po siya kagabi. Ito po ay matapos nakipagpulong ang Presidente sa ilang miyembro ng Gabinete at matapos po iyong kaniyang ulat sa bayan. So mga nagsimula po iyan mga halos alas diyes na kagabi,” he added.
Cayetano had claimed that Velasco was mostly absent in the House sessions and was just relying on the term-sharing deal so he could assume the Speakership post. He said that COVID-19 had changed circumstances of the deal,and that he is willing for a smooth turn-over for Velasco. When he offed to resign, House members voted to reject this, 184-1.
With the early break of the House of Representatives and the suspension of sessions until Nov. 14, the House of Representatives would not be able to hold hearings for the budget for its passage for the third and final reading.
-Sotto: House intramurals affecting nat’l budget-
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III said that while the Lower House under Cayetano’s leadership declared an early break, the Senate would still hold sessions until Oct. 17 as set in the legislative calendar.
He said that it is important that the House submit to the Senate the proposed budget bill which should have already been passed on third and final reading before the break on Oct. 17.
“Ang legislative calendar namin, matatapos October 17. Wala kami, break yun. Babalik ng November 16. Wala kaming pakialam sa ano, hindi namin pinakikialaman yung mga intramurals nila or problema nila sa leadership, huwag nila kaming isali doon at sa amin, ang usapan, realistically dapat nakakatanggap kami ng kopya ng budget nila na yung GAB na, hindi yung NEP, yung general appropriations bill, na galing sa kanila yun, pasado na nila on third reading. Yun ang tunay na pasa nila pag pinasa nila on third reading, ipapadala nila sa amin,” Sotto said.
(Eagle News Service)