House Speaker or not, Cayetano says he’ll ‘follow what the President wants’

Aika Rey

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House Speaker or not, Cayetano says he’ll ‘follow what the President wants’
'Ngayon kung ipa-plano niya para sakin, kami na mag-uusap... Whatever happens hindi ko pagsisihan na babalik ako para i-serve 'tong constituency na 'to,' says Alan Peter Cayetano on House Speakership

MANILA, Philippines – Are the odds on the side of Taguig City-Pateros 1st district bet Alan Peter Cayetano to be the next House Speaker?

Cayetano, who aspires to be House Speaker, said Friday, March 29 that he met with presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte in December to discuss his plans for the House Speakership.

But he said he was told to “follow what President Rodrigo Duterte would say” on the Speaker post.

“Siya (Sara Duterte) na mismo nagsabi na tayong lahat, kung anong sabihin ng Pangulo, ‘yun ang sundin natin. ‘Yun din ang assurance ko sa kanya. Publicly, sinabi niya na she will leave it up to the parties and to the President,” Cayetano said at the sidelines of their proclamation rally.

(It was she who said that we should all follow what the President said. That’s what I assured her too. Publicly, she said she will leave it up to the parties and to the President.)

In November 2018, both the President and Sara called reelectionist Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco “the next Speaker” in the 18th Congress. 

On March 19, Sara also endorsed the bid of Leyte 1st district representative Martin Romualdez as House speaker.

Sara later clarified that the next Speaker is “up to the 18th Congress.”

Cayetano disregarded other House Speaker aspirants’ endorsement and said that it’s the “natural” course of events, as Sara was speaking at the campaign rally of regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Tacloban City.

“Congress is independent. So in one way, we’re free to choose our leader. On the other hand, it’s a coalition of parties. And the majority of the coalition is very supportive of the President. And the head of PDP is our President. Definitely what he says would carry much more weight,” Cayetano said.

Despite talking to the presidential daughter, Cayetano said he “did not ask” for her to endorse his bid for Speaker.

“Ako mismo, hindi ko hiningi na endorso niya ko. Sapat na sa akin na hindi niya ayaw sa akin. I came to her para mas lubusan niya ko makilala,” he said.

(I did not ask for her to endorse me. It’s enough that she does not hate me. I came to her so she can know me better.)

Roadblock to Speakership?

Alan and his wife Lani are facing petitions at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for their congressional candidacies to be canceled, for declaring different addresses in their certificate of candidacy (COC) despite being spouses.

Alan said that the petition filed against them wants his House Speakership dream to be crippled.

“Dati akong Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Asawa ko mayor. Kapatid ko Congresswoman. Wala naman nagsabing dynasty kami. Bakit nung lumaban kami ngayon, biglang dynasty? Kasi kasama na ‘yan sa gumagawa ng issue sa Speakership di ba? Siyempre maraming gustong tumakbo rin na Speaker. Maghahanap din ng issue,” Alan said.

(I was the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. My wife was mayor. My sister was Congresswoman. Nobody said we were a dynasty. Why only now when we ran, was called a dynasty? That’s part of making an issue about the Speakership, right? Of course, a lot wants to run to be House Speaker. They will look for issues.)

On Friday, Cayetano denied that their clan is a political dynasty, and said that it was merely democracy and the votes of the people that placed them in their elective posts.

If chosen as House Speaker, Cayetano said he would be pushing the extension of service for congressmen: either scrapping of term limits and make it 4-year terms each, or 5 years of service for 3 consecutive terms.

House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is on her last term as Pampanga 2nd District Representative. Her term ends this year.

PDP-Laban, the President’s national political party, is grooming 7 of its members to take the House speakership. They are the following:

  • Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque)
  • Ronald Zamora (San Juan)
  • Alex Advincula (3rd District, Cavite)
  • Bambol Tolentino (7th District, Cavite)
  • Ricky Sandoval (Malabon)
  • Lucy Torres (4th District, Leyte)
  • Aurelio Gonzales Jr (3rd District, Pampanga)

But Cayetano said that whatever the President wants him to do, he will follow “being a good soldier.” He said he’s “secured” and he knows his standing inside the Duterte administration.

“I’m sure hindi ako ilalagay dito ng Pangulo na wala siyang plano. Ngayon kung ipa-plano niya para sakin, kami na mag-uusap. Pero okay pa rin sakin yun… Whatever happens hindi ko pagsisihan na babalik ako para i-serve ‘tong constituency na ‘to,” Cayetano said.

(I’m sure the President won’t place me here without a plan. Now, whatever plans he has for me, we will talk about it. But it’s okay. Whatever happens, I will never regret serving this constituency.) –

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at