Before I get bashed by Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano’s supporters, let me make it clear that my role here is just to chronicle the off-line conversations that I hear.
Since February 1994 Bert has been running his own political, legislative, govt affairs & election consulting firm. At 23 years old, he was perhaps the youngest “professional” House Chief of Staff in Philippines. He served as COS in 8th & 9th before moving on to consultancy work with congressmen. At 25, as national campaign director, put a man in the Senate but stayed in the House which he calls the true assembly of the people’s representatives.
Boy, did the guy have lots to say about the battle for the House Speakership and one of the things that he said that stood out was this, “Between today July 9 and July 22, things can still change. It ain’t over until all of the congressmen cast their vote for House Speaker on the morning of July 22. The President’s endorsement of Cayetano, while some may view it as wise, may not be shared by all 300 or so members of the House of Representatives,”
A few hours later, another friend messaged me and in so many ways, suggested that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte may have been “tricked” into announcing that he was endorsing congressman Cayetano as House Speaker.
Those backing the House Speakership of Congressman Lord Allan Jay Velasco and Congressman Martin Romualdez expected that President Duterte would make good with his earlier pronouncements that he would not intervene in the House Speakership contest.
Even Hugpong ng Pagbabago Chair Mayor Inday Sara Duterte Carpio was caught by surprise.
According to my friend, Presidential Spokesman Sal Panelo confirmed that President Duterte had been “pressured” into “endorsing” one of the three contenders as House Speaker. But Panelo also said that what the President expressed was merely a recommendation and that congressmen would still have the final say on who they would vote for as House Speaker.
HNP Chair Inday Sara, for her part, said that a term sharing arrangement between Congressman Cayetano and Congressman Velasco would be counter productive and slowdown the passage of the President’s legislative agenda.
She said that this would only lead to people switching sides and treachery among the congressmen.
My friend claims that HNP Chair Inday Sara appealed to congressmen to vote according to their own will because her father had been “set up” by some of members of his cabinet.
Of course, this is all just talk at this point and I’m one to be a bit skeptical about the idea that President Duterte can be “tricked” to do anything. If at all, this actually frees him of the constant and nagging pressure to select someone as House Speaker.
Duterte is a wise man, more than his detractors give him credit for. So, we’ll just have to see how things pan out on July 22.
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