July 18, 2019
Some lawmakers expressed confidence that no coup will be mounted at the House of Representatives on Monday to prevent Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano from assuming the post of speaker.
Anakalusugan party-list Rep. Michael “Mike” Defensor on Wednesday said there would be no coup d’etat to challenge Cayetano as lawmakers have accepted the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte that the Taguig lawmaker will share term with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
“I don’t think there will be a coup. I think everyone respects the pronouncement of the President and as we [have been talking since] last week, the [congressmen] have been fixing the organization of the House,” Defensor said in an interview with ANC.
There are no more surprises expected to break the deal on speakership on Monday when the 18th Congress formally opens, the same day that President Rodrigo Duterte will deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), a lawmaker said also on Wednesday.
Albay Rep. Joey Salceda agreed.
“I can tell you, at the rate we’re working together there is definitely no chance that those arrangements will not materialize on Monday,” he told reporters at a news forum.
“We will have a speaker, he’s called Alan Peter Cayateno. We will have a Majority Leader and his name is Martin Romualdez,” Salceda said.
In a small gathering with some 80 first-term congressmen on Tuesday evening, Cayetano assured his colleagues that he was sincere in following Duterte’s “15-21” formula, where he would sit as speaker for 15 months and Velasco for 21 months.
“The burden of having only 15 months is how much can you do in just 15 months? But the blessing is that it’s like sinasaksakan ka ng adrenaline (you’re taking a shot of adrenaline) every morning that you have no choice but to move faster,” he said.
After Duterte brokered a term-sharing deal between Cayetano and Velasco, Romualdez, Leyte’s First District representative, was pushed to take the majority leadership post.
Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte said last week that one of the speaker aspirants might be plotting a coup on July 22.
Defensor also previously bared a “text message” that supposedly came from Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio urging other congressmen to reject the Taguig lawmaker as speaker.
Defensor later said the text message did not come from the Davao mayor but was shared by other lawmakers.
Paolo and his sister Sara had earlier formed a so-called Duterte Coalition backing Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as speaker.
The President had dismissed the coup rumors, saying it would be “wishful thinking.”
With a reports from JOSHUA VERA CRUZ
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