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Cayetano flies to Davao, woos Pulong

Michelle R. Guillang

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House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano flew to Davao City on Saturday to meet presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte in a move thought to secure support from the Mindanao bloc.

With just a little more than a month before his tenure in the existing term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco expires, the Taguig congressman met with President Rodrigo Duterte’s son seeking to strengthen his grip of the top position with the Mindanao bloc to go with his backing of the House’s supermajority.

Cayetano along with his wife Taguig congresswoman Lani Cayetano, House Committee on Appropriations chairman and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap and House Deputy Secretary-General Brian Yamsuan visited Duterte at his house.

The Saturday meeting was just one of Cayetano’s twice-a-week meetings with the other lawmakers in a race against time to obtain numbers in order for the House leader to keep his post and nullify the term-sharing agreement with Velasco.

Velasco is supposed to take over Cayetano’s seat next month.

Duterte, an influential member of the Mindanao bloc, earlier asked his fellow Mindanao lawmakers to call for the removal of Cayetano as House leader following complaints of unequal Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) budget distribution for 2021 among congressional districts.

Cayetano was found to have some P10-billion worth of DPWH’s projects lodged under the national expenditure program with his wife.

His allies are also getting more than the rest.

Aside from his efforts to woo the Mindanao bloc, various statements from the Office of the Speaker are being solicited to fellow congressmen to generate more support for Cayetano stranglehold of the seat.

Manifestation of the bloc leaders’ support to Cayetano and appeal to Velasco to forget the term-sharing deal started last Wednesday after the congressmen gathered for a supposed meeting to discuss the red tape-related complaints raised by President Rodrigo Duterte himself.

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