The gentleman from Taguig-Pateros had a reputation of being on the wrong end of disputes involving public funds in his long “track record” as member of Congress, an argument which he tried to use to justify denying Speaker Lord Allan Velasco of his turn in a term-sharing deal.
Congressman Alan Peter Cayetano, as Speaker, is now suspected of having allowed if not initiated the mangling of the budget of various agencies for pork barrel, which the new House leadership worked to reverse.
Disputes over the distribution of funds had always been an unfortunate ingredient in Cayetano’s record in Congress.
As chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, then Senator Cayetano sought to probe Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile for cash gifts to senators in 2012, since he and his senator sister Pia got less.
While other senators got P1.6 million each as Christmas gift from Enrile, four including the Cayetanos received only P250,000.
Cayetano’s legendary tantrum proved out of place since the Commission on Audit then acknowledged Enrile’s discretion over the use of Senate savings.
Vice President Jejomar Binay said then, when asked about Cayetano’s cheap shot: “You know why it’s called a Christmas gift? Because it was given on Christmas.”
“If you listen to Senator Enrile’s explanation, the senators were given money, but that money will be used for the people, so projects. If you think it’s for personal use, that’s not true because they have to account for that as they liquidate the amount given to them,” Binay said.
Cayetano, as among his characters which he is known for, backtracked at that time, but not without a parting shot at Enrile, saying the Senate leader “set a bad precedent.”
Enrile, however, resigned in June of 2013, or six months later, indicating that Cayetano led a hate campaign against him that eroded public trust in the chamber and affected the senatorial bid of his son, Rep Jack Enrile, who failed to make it in the binary midterm polls.
“I refuse to allow anybody, whether in or outside the halls of this Chamber, to just freely trample upon the name that my late father, Alfonso Ponce Enrile, had so kindly allowed me to carry with pride,” the veteran public servant then said.
Unfortunately for Cayetano, who was after the Senate presidency then, he did not replace Enrile.
Talking of bad precedent, former First Gentleman Mike Arroyo had a brush with the Cayetanos.
The former FG, when Alan turned on him to feed a grandstanding blitz of criticisms and exposés, said the siblings got campaign funding from him during the 2004 elections. Pia was then seeking a Senate seat and Alan targeted the same position he now holds.
“During the 2004 campaign, he and his sister came to me, saying, ‘Tito, we have no money anymore, not even money for watchers,’” Mike Arroyo said. “When I gave him the money, he said, ‘That’s not enough,’ so I even added more, which was my personal funds,” he said during a September 2006 interview at the height of a Cayetano exposé about Arroyo supposedly maintaining a secret bank account in Munich, Germany. Arroyo then filed 13 libel cases against Alan.
While Alan denied Arroyo’s claim, Pia admitted receiving financial support from the former FG.
“I’m forever grateful to all the people who supported me during the campaign… and, of course, the First Gentleman is part of it,” Pia said, acknowledging Arroyo’s statement.
Senate insiders noted that aside from the controversies he stirred up during his stint, it was hard to recall any significant legislation that he initiated which can be credited to his “long experience” as a legislator.