With high ratings, will Alan still be replaced as speaker?


    THE approval and trust ratings that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano received in the latest Pulse Asia survey were the highest so far by a leader of the House of Representatives under the Duterte administration.

    Cayetano, a former senator and foreign affairs secretary, received a 64 percent approval rating and a 62 percent trust rating in the latest Ulat sa Bayan survey conducted by Pulse Asia last Sept. 16 to 22 among 1,200 adult respondents nationwide.

    The Speaker is expected to step down after 15 months in office because of a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco, chair of the House committee on energy.

    Velasco, a stalwart of PDP-Laban, said last July he was still holding on to their gentlemen’s agreement even if presidential son and Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte is against it.

    Velasco is supposed to sit as speaker for 21 months beginning late next year but with the high ratings that Cayetano is receiving, the future remains uncertain if he will be voted for the post by his colleagues who have been supportive of Cayetano.

    It was the first time the Speaker rated higher than the Vice President in terms of both trust and approval ratings.

    When former President Gloria Arroyo was Speaker, her highest public approval rating in Pulse Asia surveys was 29 percent, while her predecessor, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, got a high 42 percent.

    Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Mike Defensor, who backed the speakership bid of now majority leader Martin Romualdez, said that while he did not campaign for Cayetano, he has witnessed how hard the Speaker worked in the first two months of his leadership.

    “His work ethics, his competence and vision for our nation has made the collective membership of the House of Representatives to work harder – side by side with the leadership and thus the approval ratings,” he told reporters in a text message.

    Romualdez said the House leadership is “collectively proud of our leader’s exemplary trust and approval rating.”

    “Truly, nothing warms the heart of public servants more than the appreciation of our constituents,” he said.

    Deputy Speaker Luis Raymond “LRay” Villafuerte, Cayetano’s party mate in the Nacionalista Party (NP), said Cayetano’s focus in helping President Duterte accomplish his administration’s goals led to the positive survey results.

    “The people have noticed that under Speaker Cayetano, the House had hit the ground running and was able to deliver solid accomplishments in a short span of time. The Speaker has proven that he can be relied upon by the President and, thus, the people responded by giving him their utmost trust and approval,” said Villafuerte.

    Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., president of the Nacionalista Party (NP), said the high ratings “proved that he (Cayetano) was truly the right choice for the top post in the House of Representatives.”