SPEAKER Alan Peter Cayetano flew to Davao City and met with presidential son deputy speaker Paolo “Pulong” Duterte on Saturday night, several days after the presidential son threatened to have the speaker’s post declared vacant.
ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap, chair of the House committee on appropriations, posted on Instagram photos of the dinner-meeting which was also attended by the Cayetano’s wife, Taguig City Rep. Lani Cayetano, House deputy secretary general Brian Yamsuan, and Yap, himself.
Yap captioned the photo “Chillax night” and posted another photo of the smiling lawmakers posing in front of a swimming pool, which was captioned “Happy Sunday.”
The younger Duterte last week said he would ask colleagues to declare the positions of speaker and deputy speakers vacant because of concerns raised by some of his fellow Mindanaoan congressmen who complained about the alleged inequitable distribution of infrastructure budget among districts under the P4.5-trillion proposed national budget for next year.
While no one rose to move to declare the positions vacant, members of the supermajority crossed party lines to declare their full support for Cayetano’s leadership and asked Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco to set aside his term-sharing agreement with Cayetano and let him finish his term as speaker instead
The younger Duterte has said he was not meddling in the speaker race issue and was just amplifying the concerns raised by some colleagues in the Mindanao bloc about their district allocations.
He issued the statement after Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves questioned Taguig City’s P8-billion infrastructure budget and Camarines Sur’s P11-billion allocation during the budget briefing of the Department of Public Works and Highways.
The Speaker, who is seen to have solidified his grip on the post, has vowed to address the concerns of the Mindanao bloc through the presidential son.
Cayetano earlier said his colleagues no longer have to plot a coup if he has really lost their support because he is prepared to relinquish the House’ top post and all they have to is tell him.
Last week, it was reported that Velasco was in Davao City, asking the help of Paolo’s sister, Mayor Sara Duterte, to ensure his assumption to the House’s top post.
Cayetano allies believe Velasco has no chance if President Duterte will not meddle and the matter will be put to a vote on the floor because the majority of would like Cayetano to continue as their leader.
While he is still hoping that the term-sharing agreement would push through, the President has said he could not do anything if Velasco does not have the numbers to back his bid for speaker.