Term sharing dead

Rodrigo Duterte

LAWMAKERS yesterday said the proposed term-sharing for the next Speaker is dead following the consistent position of President Rodrigo Duterte not to endorse a candidate and his recent request for Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to choose her successor.

Capiz Rep. Fredenil “Fred” Castro and Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor agreed that revivingthe term-sharing agreement between Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco and Taguig-Pateros Representative Alan Peter Cayetano would be the easiest way to eliminate Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez already had the numbers to win the Speakership from the Speakership fight even before the official campaign started.

“Insisting on term sharing is indicative of weakness if not, political sloth. They want to be spoonfed, bereft of any mandate from members of the House of Representatives,” Castro, president of the National Unity Party (NUP) and a former House Majority Leader, told reporters in an interview.

Last Wednesday, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, a stalwart of the PDP-Laban, bared during the coalition caucus of major political parties and influential blocs called by Romualdez that at least 178 congressmen – which is more than half of the sitting and incoming House members — have already signed the manifesto of support for Romualdez, including 40 PDP-laban members. Arroyo and Romualdez are close allies.

“Is this cowardice indicative of absence of numbers in support of their convenient dream to Speaker of the House?” added Castro, a staunch supporter of Romualdez.

“The talk of term-sharing in the past was done so because I would think many if not all of the majority of the House membership, knew that Congressman Martin Romualdez had the numbers. By having term-sharing, it would easily cancel him out,” pointed out Defensor, a former Malacañang Chief of Staff.

“But now that the President already decided against term-sharing, it will be up to each member of Congress to vote for who they think is best to lead Congress and to be part of the national leadership in pushing this nation forward under the administration of President Duterte,” said Defensor.

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon said “term sharing abdicates from members their supreme freedom to choose their leader.”

“Tenure of thee years is in fact one of the worst attributes of the Constitution as it does not address continuity but moreso disrupts existing good programs that incumbents wish to implement – splitting it more to two makes insensible house leadership,” said Leachon.

Castro asked candidates to move forward and elevate the level of discourse by debating on issues confronting the nation.

“Instead of insisting being anointed, under the masquerade of term sharing, the candidates should move on through a more democratic of process of fasting their votes and spare the president from being accused of usurping if not, depriving the members of the House of representatives of their opportunity to vote based on the dictate of their conscience without mentioning that it is a patent disrespect, if not, downright defiance of the wishes of the President to observe and reinforce the establish principle of separation of  government powers,” Castro explained.