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Duterte sides with Cayetano; speakership squabble ends

12 July 2019

After a drawn-out three-way rivalry, complicated by the entry of other aspirants, the race for speakership of the House of Representatives has ended with Alan Peter Cayetano as winner — partly.

President Rodrigo Duterte stepped into the fray and announced on July 8 that he was endorsing Cayetano, who ran and lost as his running mate in 2016 and resigned this year as Foreign Affairs secretary to run as representative of Taguig City.

“I think it’s about time I talked. Your Speaker will be Alan Peter Cayetano,” Duterte said during the oathttakng ceremonies for several new appointees in Malacanang.


But Cayetano’s victory is not complete. Duterte added: “He will share the term with (Marinduque Rep.) Lord (Allan) Velasco...”

The term-sharing means Cayetano will be speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, and Velasco will tajke over in the next 21 months.

The other speakership hopeful, Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, will then be the majority leader, he added


All this was decided before the 306 House members, made of 245 district represntatives and 61 party-list seats,  have even voted for their leaders according to the Constitution.

But Duterte denied he was interfering in a co-equal branch of government. “You are not interfering because you are choosing only the leaders. Now when they begin to work and do their task and you interfere, that’s the time that we can hear the complaints,” he added.

The President said he had to step in because the rivalry was “creating so much uncertainty” within the coalition behind him.”I put them in their places.”

The decision came amid reports that new candidates had stepped in, including his son, Davao City 1st District Rep.  Paulo Duterte, and Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.

With his selection, Cayetano went on Facebook live while still in Malacanang.

He urged lawmakers to join his “Die-hard Duterte Supermajority” or DDSM bloc.

“... The DDSM has come to town, and we're going to show that it's not only the President, hindi lamang po ang Pangulong Duterte ang puwedeng magkaroon ng political will, kundi pati po ang ating House of Representatives ay puwede po magkaroon ng political will laban sa corruption, sa crime, sa drugs, at para maiangat ang kabuhayan ng bawat Pilipino,” said in his self-broadcast.
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