BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Members of the Visayan bloc appear to be divided on whether to keep supporting or not the leadership of Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in the House of Representatives, compared to other regional blocs that are rallying to drop the term sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco that was brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano, a member of the Visayan bloc, said yesterday that members of the group aired their sentiments through political party affiliations and not as a bloc.
Paduano, who also belongs to the House minority group, however, said that he and some members of the Visayan bloc want Cayetano and Velasco to abide with the term sharing agreement.
Other Visayan bloc members in Panay earlier expressed support to a status quo leadership in the House with Cayetano as the Speaker.
The Visayan bloc is composed of more than 40 solons.
While he is waiting for the position of the Office of the President with regards to the term-sharing agreement, Paduano said “I hope that everybody is gentlemen enough to honor the agreement.”
He added that the National Unity Party, Nacionalista Party, regional Northern Luzon, Southern Tagalog and Northern Mindanao blocs already manifested their support to Cayetano, while the Nationalist People’s Coalition and PDP-Laban remained silent on the issue.
Paduano said he is not supporting Cayetano.
On the other hand, he described Velasco as a “silent worker”, who did not want to compete with the incumbent Speaker and instead, agreed and respected the term sharing agreement.
“Velasco is doing good as chairman of the Energy committee,” he said.
Under the agreement made in July 2019, Cayetano leads the House for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress or until October 2020, while Velasco will assume leadership for the last 21 months.*