House Speaker Alan Peter Ketano made the announcement in a Facebook video message from his neighborhood, while the MLA was confirming the election of his opponent, Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, as speaker. Both are allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, who this week thwarted the power theft sharing deal and set off the deadlock.
Ketano and his associate legislators on Monday mocked Velasco’s election as a speaker by his supporters at a sports club outside Congress. He said he as a democratic institution is giving way to the 300-strong legislative chamber to avoid harm.
“If we defeat the Congress, we are also putting our country in danger,” Ketano said in his video message.
Despite reducing the deadlock, Duterte called Ketano and Velasco for a meeting at the presidential palace on Tuesday, primarily to ensure the rapid passage of the proposed 4.5 trillion pesos ($ 90 billion) budget, to the president’s Spokesperson Harry Roke said.
Military chief General Gilbert Gappé said the army was monitoring the deadlock of the house. “We were just getting ready in this case because it gets out of hand because sometimes there can be many benefits during situations like this,” Gappé said at a news conference.
Duterte signed a power-sharing deal last year, in which Ketano would assume a speakership for 15 months until this month, followed by Velasco, who would serve as speaker for the remaining 21 months.
Ketano recently offered to step down, but his camp said most MPs disapproved of his resignation. After the initial approval of the budget, Ketano abruptly postponed his camp to congressional sessions, vacating the notion of Velasco’s prior speech under the power-sharing agreement.
Many lawmakers protested that the suspension prevented them from examining the budget, including significant appropriations for the Department of Health, which are trying to prevent an outbreak of coronovirus.
Along with top police and military generals, Duterte warned on TV last week that he would intervene if the House’s leadership crisis threatened the passage of the budget. He later called for a special session of the House starting Tuesday to ensure the approval of the budget.
Velasco’s associate legislators gathered at a sports club on Monday to declare the House speakership vacant, then chose Velasco as their replacement.
Ketano and his camp termed the move illegal and traitorous and initially insisted that they still had the support of the majority of legislators. But he changed his mind and accused his rivals of forcing the House of Representatives to accuse his rivals of damaging the door.
Associated Press Photo Journalist Aaron Favila contributed to this report.