By: Elena Grace Flores
YouTube Manila Bulletin Online
Newly-elected Speaker Lord Allan Velasco sworn into office
Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco takes his oath as the new House Speaker. This is after 186 lawmakers in alliance with the government declared the post of Speaker vacant. Then, they elected Velasco in a convened regular session at the Celebrity Sports Plaza in Quezon City on October 12. The backers of the first 16 months of outgoing House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano are not happy how their dominance ends in the lower House. But the gentlemen’s agreement prevails as per the advice of the President.
The Speaker Can’t be Vice President Automatically
Since Bongbong Marcos’ electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo is still pending decision, there are speculations that Velasco may prevent Cayetano from becoming Vice President. However, it’s not true that the speaker of the House automatically becomes vice president. First, the Senate President is also in the line of succession. Also, should the VP replaces President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, she could choose another individual to become her vice president. The Congress and the Senate will then approve it. This was the case of the late President Corazon Aquino and Vice President Salvador Laurel at the tail-end of the Marcos regime.
Becoming the President
If both the President and the Vice President cannot serve for whatever reason, the Senate President or, in case of his inability, the House Speaker, will act as President until a President is elected and qualifies. This is likely the scenario that the administration supporters are looking at. Since rumor has it that the President’s health is questionable, we can’t blame the VP to prepare for the possible accession. This leaves Bongbong Marcos to advance his take and prevent the protestee from assuming the highest post of the land. That would make both of the executive positions vacant. Velasco can make sure that whatever happens to the Senate President, the current administration’s power is safe.