PRESIDENT Duterte might eventually scrap the term-sharing agreement between Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, and Cayetano is fine with it.
Yesterday, Cayetano told reporters he was open to serving a full three-year term and finish the 18th Congress as Speaker.
“I do believe that the President will not meddle as President, but as head of the coalition, (so) I will follow his directive,” he said in a chance interview, adding: “If Congressman Velasco, himself, tells me, ‘You should be the Speaker,’ I can’t just force him (to change his mind), right?”
Cayetano had earlier said his agreement with Velasco stays for now but he will ask President Duterte, as head of the administration coalition, to confirm if Velasco will assume the post late next year.
The Speaker wants Duterte to decide if he will step down after 15 months in office to give way to Velasco, who is set to assume the post for 21 months starting late next year based on the term-sharing agreement, which was brokered by the President before the House elected Cayetano last July 22.
Cayetano said he is not disregarding the leadership capability of Velasco, a fellow administration ally who has become his rival for the House of Representative’s top post.
“I mean, we’re also just human. We’re also public servants and we also believe in our own leadership. How can other people believe in my leadership if I don’t believe in my leadership?” Cayetano said.
“Having said that, he (Velasco) also has own leadership, his own following. He is the head of the President’s party, so I also have to respect that,” he also said.
Under the agreement, the Taguig-Pateros lawmaker will sit for 15 months and step down by October next year to give way to Velasco, who will have 21 months to lead the House.
It was also agreed that Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez will be the majority leader for the entirety of the 18th Congress.
Cayetano made the remarks as he reiterated he will leave the decision on the term-sharing agreement after some lawmakers like Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., the president of the National Unity Party (NUP), and Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael Defensor called for continuity because of Cayetano’s high ratings.
“Well, I can’t stop other congressmen from expressing support for the way we’re running the House now. I’m also very proud of the 18th Congress but having said that, there is an agreement and the President is not (yet) changing it,” he said.
“Just because you’re happy today that doesn’t mean you’re happy next week, or next month. So I’ll focus on work and then let’s see what the Lord’s will and what my colleagues want when the time comes,” Cayetano added.
Cayetano received another “good” +49 net satisfaction rating based on the third quarter 2019 Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
According to SWS survey, some 64 percent of Filipinos said they are satisfied with Cayetano’s performance, while 14 percent said they are dissatisfied.
Cayetano also got 64 percent approval and 62 percent trust ratings based on September 2019 Ulat ng Bayan Survey of Pulse Asia.
The Speaker, who celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday, said he wants to have twins with wife Taguig Rep. Lani Cayetano.
“(I’m) hoping for twins, soon. I believe it’s every couple’s goal to have a family and take care of it. That’s why if my months (as Speaker) is the Lord’s will, maybe that’s also an opportunity for her (Lani) to spend more time with me,” he said.
The Speaker and his wife, who is the former mayor of Taguig City, have now been married for 15 years.