By Genalyn Kabiling
President Duterte is confident Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano will get enough votes to become the next Speaker of the House of Representatives.
The President voiced optimism about the chances of Cayetano to lead the Lower House as he brushed aside as mere “wishful thinking” the reported coup brewing against his bet for Speaker.
Asked if Cayetano will be able to get the votes to win the speakership, the President said: “He will.”
Cayetano was among the government officials present during the celebration of the Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC) Day in Malacañang Thursday night. After the ceremony, the former Foreign Affairs Secretary approached the President and showed respect by making the “mano” gesture. Duterte was seen reciprocating the sign of respect to Cayetano.
In a bid to resolve the House leadership impasse, the President recommended a term-sharing where Cayetano would sit as Speaker for the first 15 months while Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will take the succeeding 21 months.
Duterte explained later that it was Cayetano who first sought his help after making known his intention to run for Speaker before the election.
Duterte said it was only later that Velasco revealed about his Speakership bid.
Duterte also endorsed Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as Majority leader.
Though he named his bet for Speaker after much pressure from House leaders, the President said the House of Representatives still has the privilege to elect its leader.
“The only reason why the President gave that suggestion is because those or vying for it went to him and sought his wise suggestion to settle the row between and among them,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
But the President’s choice appears not to sit well with some quarters as Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, the President’s eldest son hinted of a brewing coup against Cayetano.