When friends from the House of Representatives invited me over for a dinner of crispy fried pig face (they call it Kapalmuks) at Pepeton’s on Panay Avenue, I didn’t hesitate to say YES.
First, it has been a long while since I saw these friends of mine face to face and second, discussing politics with people who actually work closely with some of our country’s most powerful politicians is bound to give one much better insight than what you can get from the news-slash-opinion-slash-propaganda that ABS-CBN or GMA News inundates us with.
The dinner invite was by no means a coincidence. These friends of mine read my last post and wanted to give me an earful.
While most people can’t stand people who try to prove them wrong about things, I try my best to listen patiently and carefully consider each of their points. More often than not, I always find things that I failed to consider and this improves whatever observation or impressions I may have on certain things.
In my previous post, my analysis of the party strengths in terms of elected congressmen and possible alignments led me to tentatively conclude that Leyte congressman Martin Romualdez appears to be the best man suited for the position if what is desired is a critical collaborator.
What I mean is Romualdez could be more than just someone who’ll see to it that items in the President’s legislative agenda is passed, but someone who could expand the administration’s field of vision and possibly compel Duterte to revise his agenda.
My friends disagreed with my analysis and said that the next House Speaker might be Taguig congressman Alan Peter Cayetano.
Like me, they figured that the decision of who will sit as House Speaker largely depends on HOW our congressmen will vote.
If they vote strictly along party lines, PDP Laban appears to have the lead — that is, if they get behind just one nominee. Right now it appears as if the party is equally divided with congressman Pantaleon Alvarez getting 41 and congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco getting 41.
The only thing that will solve this impasse is if President Rodrigo Duterte, as the leader of PDP Laban, makes a choice between Alvarez and Velasco.
With no word from the President and with an order to his daughter HNP Chair Mayor Inday Sara Duterte to keep out of the contest for House Speaker, my friends said that the top post in the House of Representatives might be Taguig congressman Alan Peter Cayetano.
Their basis for saying so is a report that says Cayetano still has the backing of all 42 of his Nacionalista partymates as well as the reported support of all 25 members of the National Unity Party.
“Pare, that means Cayetano has 67 and that trumps the two 41’s of PDP Laban,” said one of my friends.
At that point, it seemed that my theory about Romualdez clinching the leadership of the House of Representatives seemed to have crumbled right before me.
But then another friend piped up and said, “Well, he’s sure to end up as House Speaker only if everyone in the House has forgotten what he was like when he was congressman.”
I urged my friend to tell more but the only other thing he said was, “All I remember about those days was that when congress closed and “graduating” congressman was being given a send off, the plenary hall filled with a collective sigh of relief when it came to Cayetano’s turn.”
Yet another friend chortled, “Oh man! That’s probably enough motivation for everybody else line up to sign up to support Martin Romualdez as House Speaker!”
My friend went on to say that, just as merely echoed President Duterte’s foreign policy pronouncements, Cayetano is bound to try and get all of his colleagues to march according to the beat of Duterte’s drum.
“Cayetano is bound to follow whatever Duterte says, not because it is the right thing and not because he believes it’ll do the country good — but because he’s paying a debt of gratitude to Duterte who he claims promised to make him House Speaker.”
One thing for sure that I can say is that among those aspiring to be the House Speaker, Romualdez is the only one coming of his own accord and out of a sense of duty to his country.
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