All is well? Cayetano berates Ungab over 2020 budget row

Mara Cepeda

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All is well? Cayetano berates Ungab over 2020 budget row
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano unsurprisingly takes the side of his ally and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte instead

Looks like the issues in the proposed 2020 budget have not been “sorted out” by the House leadership after all. 

At least two sources told Rappler that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano scolded House committee on appropriations chairperson Isidro Ungab for opposing the withdrawal of the General Appropriations Bill (GAB) on the proposed P4.1-trillion budget for 2020

The withdrawal was ordered by Cayetano’s ally, Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte, who said it was “premature” for Ungab to have filed the 2020 GAB for first reading in the plenary last week. (READ: Smells like pork? ‘Premature’ 2020 budget bill withdrawn in House plenary)

The sources privy to Cayetano’s meeting with Ungab, Villafuerte, and other House leaders on Monday afternoon, September 2, said the Speaker supposedly threatened to move Ungab to another committee if the Davao City congressman did not cooperate with the House leadership in resolving his row with Villafuerte.

“Ungab was reprimanded and was told there are other committees available for him if he does not compromise,” one source told Rappler.

Another insider said the House leadership imposed a gag order on Ungab to stop talking about the controversy involving the 2020 budget, which his committee on appropriations is primarily tasked to scrutinize. (READ: Ungab to Villafuerte: Bill withdrawal to ‘definitely derail’ 2020 budget passage

Ungab already warned that changes in the refiled GAB version would “surely raise doubts on our proceedings and the House will be questioned on why it will alter the proposed budget prepared by the executive department.”

Cayetano, however, insisted the Ungab-Villafuerte issue had been “sorted out” and was nothing but a mere “misunderstanding” between two legislators. 

Ungab’s clash with Villafuerte is a sign that at least two Duterte-allied factions in the House are colliding. 

Presidential children Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte initially pushed for Ungab to be House Speaker. But Ungab withdrew from the speakership fight after President Rodrigo Duterte himself endorsed a term-sharing agreement between two of his allies: Cayetano and Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco. 

Villafuerte, meanwhile, strongly backed Cayetano’s bid for Speaker. –

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.