Cayetano to gun for Speaker post

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Guiding presence Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Special Assistant to the President Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go confer in front of a portrait of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Palace. Both may be discussing plans for next year’s mid-term polls. MALACAÑANG PHOTO

BALI, Indonesia — Outgoing Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano will seek the leadership of the House of Representatives if he wins a congressional seat and he already has the blessing of President Duterte for his plan.

Cayetano said he and the President had a heart-to-heart talk and reached an agreement that he would be of better service to the administration if he serves as House Speaker.

Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term ends in the current Congress as she had used up her three reelection limit under the Constitution.

“We both agreed that a role in Congress and a leadership position in Congress would be good in terms of pursuing that

vision. So with all humility, I will seek another term in my hometown, the district of Taguig and Pateros and then let’s see where it goes from there,” Cayetano said during the symbolic handover of the Philippines’ assistance to Central Sulawesi in Indonesia which was hit by a deadly earthquake and tsunami late last month.

Cayetano, however, said the road to getting the top seat at the House will not be an easy journey.

“It’s a complex matter. I first have to win in my district and I want to focus on that first. Then I have to win the trust and confidence of the whole Congress, especially since I have a specific vision,” he said.

“It’s not me just simply winning a seat in Congress and wanting to be Speaker or wanting a new leadership, it’s how you want to pursue this vision in the next three years,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano accompanied Mr. Duterte in Bali, Indonesia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Leaders’ Gathering which will be his last official trip as head of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

He offered to finish all diplomatic events in November but the President preferred members of his Cabinet running in the mid-term elections to tender their resignations early to allow the Palace to reorganize and prevent a power vacuum.

CoC filing soon

Asked when he is planning to file his certificates of candidacy (CoC), Cayetano said he will do it “in the next few days.”

“I did offer to complete the events lined up – the EU (European Union)-ASEAN Leaders’ Summit in Brussels, the ASEAN Summit in Singapore, the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), and preparations for the state visit of (Chinese) President Xi,” he said.

As for his replacement, Cayetano politely declined to divulge who will be taking over his office but did admit to being “excited” when he and Duterte agreed on who to appoint as his successor.

“As soon as we came up with a name that we all agreed on, there was excitement on my part and the President as well. I have full confidence that my successor will be more than capable of taking over. He might even do a better job,” Cayetano said.

He hinted that the next DFA chief’s name has “already been out.”

Reports have surfaced that Cayetano’s replacement will be the Philippines’ representative to the United Nations (UN), Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr.

“I’ll allow the President to announce who will be taking over,” he said.

Roque, Go to seek posts

Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP) president Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III also revealed that presidential spokesman Harry Roque and Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go will run for senator under the ruling PDP party.

The former Senate president revealed Roque and Go’s intentions as he filed his CoC for Senate reelection yesterday, adding also included in the line-up are Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) Chief Ronald de la Rosa, Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Francis Tolentino, Makati Rep. Monsour del Rosario and Maguindanao Rep. Dong Mangudadatu.

Music icon Freddie Aguilar, who filed his CoC for senator under PDP, was not among the party bets named by Pimentel.

Pimentel filed his CoC with his fiancée, Kathryn Yu, with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) at 8 a.m. sharp, noting that he will have his wedding next week, thus the early filing of the CoC.

Pimentel then urged his fellow partymates to wear red when they file their respective CoC.
“Wear red because the party embraces radical ideas,” Pimentel, a lawyer, added.

The senator also disclosed that the ruling party will not field a complete 12-man Senate slate for the coming mid-term polls.

“We will only have six to seven candidates from PDP. It is up for them to announce their bid,” Pimentel said. “Actually we can have two slates but the others were discouraged by party leaders because we felt it is not yet their time. We don’t want our young leaders to start with an election loss,” he added.

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