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Duterte hands off on House coup rumors — Palace

President Rodrigo Duterte is keeping his hands off on the alleged plot to remove Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from his post, Malacañang said Thursday. 

Duterte’s spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the President would not meddle in the affairs of the House of Representatives, a co-equal branch of government, unless he is asked to do so.

“The President does not interfere. That’s the internal affair of the Congress. Hindi siya makikialam unless you ask him to settle whatever rift they have if there is any,” Panelo told reporters.

The Palace official said he has not heard of any complaints from the President about Cayetano’s performance as leader of the House.

Cayetano earlier said the alleged ouster plot was connected to the issues on the national budget and the House's inaction on the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

"Maybe that is only the perception of Speaker Alan Cayetano," Panelo said.

He also revealed on Thursday that 20 congressmen have allegedly been offered chairmanship posts and budget allocations by his presumptive successor, Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

Velasco, on the other hand, denied reports that he was behind the reported "coup plans" against Cayetano, stressing that he will honor the term-sharing agreement between them.

Under the deal, Cayetano will hold the speakership post for 15 months from the beginning of the 18th Congress in July last year. Velasco will take over for the remaining 21 months. — RSJ, GMA News