By Hannah Torregoza
House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano said on Tuesday he is prepared to obey whatever President Rodrigo Duterte says regarding the leadership of the House of Representatives.
Cayetano, an administration ally, issued the statement after he was asked about President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark there would be a “problem” if he does not honor the term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“Ako from the start I’ve been very consistent. Ang head ng coalition ay ang pangulo. So ang pangulo ang masusunod (I’ve been very consistent from the start. The President is the head of the coalition. So the President will be obeyed),” Cayetano told reporters at the sidelines of the Senate budget hearing.
“Nandito ako, hindi para bigyan ng problema ang presidente, kundi i-solve ang problema, (I am here not to give the President problems, but to help solve the problem),” he said.
“So kung ano sabihin ng presidente, bilang member ng coalition, susunod ako (So whatever the President says, as a member of the coalition, I will obey),” the Speaker emphasized.
Cayetano noted that the issue on the House speakership cropped up when some lawmakers expressed satisfaction over the achievements and high trust and approval rating of the House of Representatives of the 18th Congress under his leadership.
“Nag-liyab lang yan kasi nung mag-express ang mga congressman ng kasiyahan na mabilis napasa ang budget, mataas ang ratings ng Congress, maganda ang pagkakapili ng chairmanship…so hindi mo matatanggal sa ilan mong supporters na magpayag. Kaya gumulong yung news.”
(That issue was raised after some congressmen expressed satisfaction over the swift passage of the proposed budget, the high trust ratings of Congress, the apt selection of chairmanship committees… so you can’t deny some of your supporters their moment. So the news circulated),” he pointed out.
“But I think lahat naman kami ay willing sumunod sa ating Pangulo … wala naman dapat maging problema (all of us are willing to obey the President, so there should be no problem),” he added.
It can be recalled that Cayetano was locked in a battle for the speakership with Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who are both also allies of the President.
But last July 9, the President decided on a term-sharing scheme between Cayetano and Velasco to end the squabble among his allies in the House.
The President said Cayetano would serve as Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco would succeed for the remaining 21 months.
Cayetano gave the assurance that despite their rivalry, he has a good working relationship with both Velasco and Romualdez.
“So para sa akin, wala akong nakikitang pagbabago as of now (for me, I don’t see any changes),” he said.