"It’s open season for treachery."
To entice the support of the House, Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano concocted the idea of “term-sharing” to assure himself of the Speakership. He addressed his proposal to few of the members including the President.
He was elected during the opening of the 18th Congress as the 22nd Speaker on July 22, 2019 after the stormy unseating of another punk, Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez.
The idea of term-sharing came about because of intense horse trading to secure the best of what the ruling administration could offer as consolation. The political formula was intended to assure he will not be stabbed in the back. It was in reality a disguised compromise that each will have his share of the bacon while he gets the speakership.
It was a shrewd move that induced Lord Allan Jay Velasco of Marinduque, Martin Romualdez from the first district of Leyte and, and congressman Paolo “Pulong” Duterte from the first district of Davao City to throw their support. The only contender, considered out of line, was Benny Abante Jr. of the 6th district of Manila who garnered 28 votes. A total of 266 votes were obtained by Cayetano.
It turned out the entire members of congress, including President Duterte, were taken for a ride (in the vernacular, “na-denggoy”) into supporting Cayetano based on his skewed plan. They were not aware that the proposal was only meant to pacify the ambition of Velasco. Cayetano failed to disclose the implication that it was in fact a horse trade he made before the President.
Cayetano thus served as Speaker starting July 22, 2019, and it was supposed to end on June 30, 2022, until somebody filed a motion to divide the house to elect a new Speaker. In the meantime, he would remain there for as long as he enjoys the support of the majority.
The decision of Cayetano not to honor the term-sharing badly affected his integrity. In truth, it was an empty can. His decision to renege on his promise made in the presence of the President was a slap on his face.
Cayetano slowly showed his true colors -- that he would not budge before any pressure that threatens his power. His decision to postpone the session to November 16 violated par. 5, Section 16, Article VI of the Constitution which states that “neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.”
Suspending the session was meant to deliver a message that he is the boss when it comes to deciding the national budget. He wanted to show he has the power on who, from among his peers, can enjoy his patronage. It was a dry run that as Speaker, he does not stand as a totem pole but wields real power to make it difficult for anybody who fails to toe the line.
The President, no less, warned him saying that “if you cannot solve your problem, I will solve it for you.”
Cayetano’s ranting that the election of Velasco was null and void has become moot and academic. He claims to have 200 supporters but 186 solons voted for Velasco. There are 304 members and it only requires 153 votes to elect a Speaker. Interestingly, Cayetano clattered like a furious punk by rendering his “irrevocable resignation.” But to whom? In fact, this came after he was ousted by the civil process of electing a new Speaker.
Cayetano claims that the holding of an election outside Congress is void. He forgot he virtually closed Congress and the guards would not allow anybody to loiter the premises without permission as authorized by the Speaker. Cayetano wanted to act as little President using the derivative power of chief executive without the mandate from the people.
To recall, when he ran for vice president, he was obsessed with hitting BBM hard to boost his chances of winning. His style became an embarrassment to his colleagues. His strategy to destroy Marcos ended up with him being badly bruised. As the President quipped, he made a wrong choice in selecting Cayetano as his running mate.
Many political observers believe Cayetano premeditatedly boxed out BBM to prevent Duterte from nominating him as running mate. He cleverly used his party affiliation with the reincarnated Nacionalista Party created by former Senator Manny Villar, a power broker always demanding a bargain as quid pro quo.
Cayetano and his handlers carefully maneuvered things. Cayetano has the natural advantage of being a blue-blooded minion of those abominable yellow dregs while accusing BBM of remaining loyal to the party founded by his father as if Cayetano holds the title to that reincarnated Nacionalista Party.
To seal off the possibility of a Duterte-Marcos ticket, the yellow dregs secured an alliance with Digong’s PDP-Laban. That sealed the fate of BBM as an outcast while Digong falling right into the lap of one many suspect as sporting dual citizenship like the shamed and erstwhile political kingmaker.
Interestingly, the very machine that cheated for Robredo did not show respect to Cayetano’s candidacy as shown by the votes he garnered. They just confined their attention to ensuring their lackey to win at all costs. Smartmatic and PPCRV, a Catholic lay organization to help Filipinos defraud their supposedly “honest, fair and clean election” to favor their puppet but with much difficulty in trimming down the overwhelming votes of Duterte.
Cayetano’s desire to retain the speakership was his second chance to run again for vice president after that lackluster performance in hitting BBM below the belt. The decision by the President to call a special session was to ensure the timely passage of the proposed P4.5-trillion national budget. The President certified as urgent the budget to allow lawmakers to skip the three-day rule to pass the measure.
Cayetano failed to read that the President knew what was in his mind. He is a shrewd political player. He wanted to hijack the national budget to ensure that certain budgetary allocations go to his chosen lackeys. He wants to be a financial kingmaker. Possibly, he wanted to open a financial pipeline for the opposition for them to savor the so-called largess of the budget though the courtesy of Cayetano.
If that windfall breeze favored Cayetano, he can even be picked by Robredo as her vice president. The strategy begins by allowing Robredo to win by default without those shameless misfits in the PET rendering a decision is their first step. But how could the yellow dregs do that when Cayetano faltered in his ambition that incurred the ire of the President?
If that happens, it will be an open season for treachery beginning in the dunking of known Duterte loyalists. Most serious is the possibility of throwing the important projects of the administration to trash, which Duterte worked hard, through assistance from China, so that he would have a legacy of greatness. Most importantly, Cayetano will resurrect with scathing vengeance by the foreign-operated electoral cheating machine that made a monkey of our electoral system, with our voters ecstatically acting like fools.