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‘Coup’ backlash: Cayetano kneels

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said it was Cayetano’s handiwork and claimed the Speaker was to declare all positions vacant before calling for a new election Cayetano designed to win for himself.

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said he will no longer shake the present committee leaderships and will stop with the earlier removal of two of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco’s allies from their posts.

But that was seen by his peers as the collapse of Cayetano’s claimed coup d’état against his own leadership, which is supposed to end in October following his “15-21” term-sharing deal with Velasco.

A number of congressmen also accused the House leader of orchestrating the coup talks against himself so that he could scrap his deal with Velasco.

Taguig-Pateros Rep. Cayetano, Velasco and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez forged the deal before they sought the blessing of President Rodrigo Duterte, who agreed to let Cayetano lead for 15 months while 21 months will go to Velasco.

Romualdez will serve as Majority leader for three years.

After a warning by many congressmen, Cayetano’s allies kicked out Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab (appropriations) and Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon (electoral tribunal) for leadership of their committees.

Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza said it was Cayetano’s handiwork and claimed the Speaker was to declare all positions vacant before calling for a new election Cayetano designed to win for himself.

“It (coup) was a drama,” Atienza said.

That plan would have put the deal in peril, but it would have allowed Cayetano to serve as Speaker for all three years of his term.

On Wednesday, Cayetano said all committee chairmanships are safe.  He also maintained that the term-sharing agreement will push through despite the sacking of Ungab and Leachon from their posts.

“Nobody said that it (deal) won’t push through, Cayetano said, reiterating that “except that they tried to stage a coup.”

“I don’t want to remove any more chairperson,” he added. “But that is with the agreement that they will be supportive.”

“The bottom line is with 15 months, I want to do my best,” Cayetano closed.

As this happened, six senators led by Senator Cynthia Villar, met with President Duterte yesterday and reportedly sought his support to a leadership change in the chamber.

With Villar were Senators Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa, Imee Marcos, Pia Cayetano and Francis Tolentino.

Villar is said to be being groomed by the group to replace Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto, who led a majority of senators in questioning President Duterte’s scrapping of the Visiting Forces Agreement between the Philippines and the United States before the Supreme Court.

Sotto told Daily Tribune that he was not aware of any plot to boot him out of his post.

“I only serve at the pleasure of my colleagues,” Sotto said. “Whatever, I’d rather not speculate.”

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