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Beleaguered bet sues for backing

Hananeel Bordey



It seems Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano is now unsure of a smooth path towards the post of Speaker despite the term-sharing formula between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco securing the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Mr. Duterte said in an exclusive pre-State of the Nation Address interview with The Daily Tribune he will not take offense if his House allies will not favor his proposed compromise.

Cayetano sought a meeting yesterday with his rivals for the House leadership, Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez

“It’s okay with me, that is just my formula. I said, it’s time for me to talk… since conflict had started. All of them were asking, what did Duterte say? Actually, before the elections, we were together (referring to Cayetano)… so he had told me someday he will run for congressman and Speaker… then Lord (Allan Velasco)… came in and he is also interested so let us see,” Mr. Duterte said.

Cayetano sought a meeting yesterday with his rivals for the House leadership, Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, after Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte hinted that a looming coup will be initiated by one of the three candidates on 22 July.

Stay please
On Thursday night, Cayetano met with the members of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino (PDP), the night after he met with some allies of endorsed Majority Floor Leader Romualdez and few members of the Partylist Coalition.

Rep. Duterte disclosed in social media that a coup was being planned by “one of the three candidates.”

During his speech, Cayetano asked the congressmen to “stay beside him” and not work behind him as he take the top post for 15 months.

“I only have 15 months with you, so I will ask you to help me in the same way that you help your constituents. It’s not enough that you vote for me on July 22, 2019. I hope you will join me in the next 15 months,” Cayetano said.

“I hope you stay beside me and not behind me. We will do this together Martin as will keep reminding me. I promise always Cong. Velasco that we will talk and then the three of us will join forces,” he added.

Alan runs to Al
Cayetano said he aims to reform House specifically on its credibility.

“We will have to reform the House before we reform others because what is our credibility to reform others?” he said.

He added that whoever will be elected as Minority Leader, will be given the opportunity for full debates since he doesn’t want to silence the members of the minority.

“We will win the debate because the President’s sgenda is better than the opposition not because we have a big number (in the majority),” he said.

Cayetano also asked Energy Secretary Alfonso “Al” Cusi, who represented party chairman and President Rodrigo Duterte during the meeting, to encourage the members of the Cabinet to have a better relationship with the Congress.

“It is not true that the Cabinet keeps on dictating. We just want a better relationship with the judiciary, better relationship with the Senate and better relationship with the Cabinet to make things faster,” the endorsed speaker added.

Sonny’s idea
Previously, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza revealed that the Cabinet members have thrown their support to Cayetano and dipped their hands in the speakership battle to gain dominance in the budget deliberations.

He named Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III as the one who insisted the term-sharing idea to the President. However, Dominguez denied the allegations.

Cayetano said that they are planning to conduct a majority caucus next week.

On Thursday morning, the president’s son revealed that he is interested in the elections of the Speaker on 22 July as he received information that there will be a coup that will happen and some will not heed to the President’s endorsement to Cayetano.

Paolo, who formed a coalition with his sister Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as head of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago, has not manifested support yet to Cayetano.

The Duterte Coalition fielded Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab as their speaker candidate.

Sara told the Daily Tribune that HnP has yet to deliberate whether they will heed to her father’s endorsement or not.

Agri as priority
In the same interview, Mr. Duterte said agriculture, “the weakest link in the economy,” will be the highlight of the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) late this month. The President said he is leaving no stones unturned in his vision of every Filipino having lands they can call their own.

To achieve this, the Chief Executive said he will shift his sights on strengthening the agriculture sector for the next three years of his presidency.

“Agriculture is a major priority. We will do whatever enhances out agriculture,” Mr. Duterte said.

One area the national government will prioritize, said the President is the coconut industry.

“Money should be put to good use in improving the research on coconut — how the money is spent and inproving government services (for coconut farmers),” he stated.

The export of coconut oil, the country’s top agricultural export, has drastically decreased this year mainly due to the oversupply of global palm oil coupled with the decline in local copra production.

Add to that the bad reputation coconut and palm oil has been getting for its supposed bad effects to one’s health.

According to the President, more efforts must be exerted to revitalize the coconut industry.

In doing so, Mr. Duterte wants to arrest the conversion of prime agricultural land for commercial use.