K-pop hits House; Alan forms own BTS group vs Velasco

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    THE Korean pop bug has hit Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, stirring him into forming a new political bloc at the House of Representatives and naming it after the internationally popular South Korean boyband BTS, or Bangtan Boys.

    Cayetano, who earlier began criticizing the administration’s renewed Charter change campaign amid the COVID-19 pandemic, formed his own seven-man “BTS sa Batasan” three months after the was ousted as speaker and replaced by Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, a party mate of President Duterte.

    An invitation was sent to reporters by Cayetano’s office asking them to attend a press conference to be held at a restaurant in Quezon City today where the former speaker is expected to explain how his new “independent majority bloc” will be able to effectively act as a fiscalizer to Velasco’s leadership while remaining supportive of the Duterte administration.

    The other members of the group are Reps. Luis Raymund Villafuerte Jr. of Camarines Sur, Dan Fernandez of Laguna, Raneo Abu of Batangas, Michael Defensor of Anakalusugan party-list, Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan, and Fredenil Castro of Capiz.

    All six lost their plum posts when Velasco assumed the House’s top post in late October last year

    Villafuerte, Fernandez, Abu, and Castro are all former deputy speakers, while Sy-Alvarado and Defensor used to chair the House committees on good government and public accountability and on public accounts, respectively.

    The name of the new bloc did not sit well with the boy group’s fans who call themselves “Army,” as #CayetanoStopUsingBTS started trending on social media on Wednesday.

    Cayetano said “BTS sa Kongreso” only meant “Back to Service Congress,” to let the people know that lawmakers are buckling down to work after being sidelined by political bickering late last year.

    “It’s not meant to offend the (BTS) fans,” he said.

    Vllafuerte said their bloc was not formed just to spite Velasco but to “be more critical of certain issues and legislation.”

    “If we see something that’s wrong, we’ll also speak out because at the end of the day, we want what’s good for the country. We’re still definitely part of the administration and the Duterte majority,” he said.

    This was the second time that a political bloc at the Lower House was named after a pop group.

    In 1999, Defensor, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers and now Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, along with three other congressmen who were critical of the Estrada administration called themselves the “Spice Boys” to ride on the popularity of British girl group Spice Girls.