By Mario Casayuran
Taguig Congressman Alan Peter S. Cayetano may have the advantage in getting the House of Representatives speakership with the endorsement of President Rodrigo Duterte but this does not assure him the post just yet.
Cayetano still has needs to work hard to influence the more than 200 members of the 300-man House of Representatives to get a plurality during voting before the start of the 18th Congress on July 22, according to Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, president of the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino (PDP)-Laban Party.
Cayetano was a former Senator and a former Foreign Affairs Secretary.
After weeks of being goaded to choose who from the five contenders should be the House Speaker, President Duterte finally decided on a term-sharing agreement between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
Cayetano will sit first as House Chief before the Velasco, the choice of PDP-Laban Party.
The 85-member PDP-Laban party has to respect the President’s decision that was sought by the President’s allies.
Getting a 100 percent approval from all the party members might be difficult to attain, Pimentel conceded.
‘’But they should credit the President for making the decision,’’ he added.
The PDP-:Laban is considered the biggest party at the Lower House.
The remainder consists of different smaller parties, independents and the more than 50 members of various Party List organizations.
To iron out the nitty-gritty of the term-sharing agreement, Pimentel said Cayetano and his group and Velasco and his group were scheduled to have met at an undisclosed place Wednesday night.
The agenda of the negotiation are on the sharing of the House committee chairmanships; and memberships at the Commission on Appointments (CA) and at the House Electoral Tribunal (HET).
‘’The spirit of the negotiation should be ‘give and take’ since Cayetano already had the major slice’’ by being given the first half of the term of the speakership, Pimentel, a former Senate President, said.
‘’There should be good faith. We can negotiate fairly and as equals,’’ he added.
Pimentel recalled that Cayetano was the running mate of President Duterte in the 2016 presidential elections.
He stressed that the frame of mind of the PDP-Laban negotiators to be led by Congressman Johnny Pimentel is that they act as party members.
Pimentel, son of former Senate President Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., then appealed to his party members to ‘’toe the line.’’
Cayetano will serve as House Speaker for 15 month while Velasco will serve for 21 months.
Pimentel also said the negotiators should also decide on the transition mechanics when Cayetano turns over the speakership to Velasco.
Before leaving for his boxing match in Las Vegas last month, boxing icon Senator Emmanuel D. Pacquaio said the PDP-Laban has chosen Velasco as the party nominee for the Speakership.
Pacquiao was the campaign manager of the PDP-Laban in the May 2019 mid-term elections.
Aside from Pacquiao and Pimentel, the three other PDP-Laban senators are Ronald dela Rosa, Francis Tolentino and Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go.