July 22, 2019 at 01:40 am
Rio N. Araja and Macon Ramos-Araneta
A dark horse may emerge as speaker of the House of Representatives after the President’s son, Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, called an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting with almost 200 lawmakers hours before the first regular session of the 18th Congress opens today.
“We have something to watch out for tomorrow,” said Albay Rep. Joey Salceda Sunday, suggesting that a term-sharing agreement brokered by President Rodrigo Duterte between Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco might not hold.
“I would say Cayetano is still front-running. However, tomorrow morning, someone could come out to be a dark horse
,” he said.
“The President has already said that he would not mind if we would vote for someone [other than Cayetano],” Salceda said.
“Definitely, whoever sits as the Speaker needs a direct line to the President. It seems that the clear line would be the son,” he added.
Cayetano is expected to attend the meeting, Salceda said.
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“You just don’t call for a breakfast [meeting for nothing or] if you’re just getting to know them,” the Albay lawmaker said.
The presidential son earlier hinted at a possible coup for the speakership, but Velasco said he believed Cayetano would prevail.
He said he was confident that the leaders of various political parties in Congress would back Cayetano.
Velasco said he would attend both breakfast meetings.
Meanwhile, Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr., president of the ruling PDP-Laban, said there would be no coup in the Senate as he reaffirmed his support for Senate President Vicente Sotto III.
He also said their 84 members in the House are throwing their support behind Cayetano.
“I also don’t feel there will be surprises because we were asking the guidance of the President,” he said.
Pimentel said the President had already spoken and they were just following him.
Sotto said the 41 Nationalist People’s Coalition congressmen would support Cayetano.
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