By Ben Rosario
It’s back to the drawing board for the newly-organized Duterte Coalition after being taken aback by President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement of a term-sharing scheme that would favor Taguig Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano the first crack at the speakership.
Formed only five days ago and getting swift support from dozens of administration congressmen, the DC did not issue any statement to Duterte’s announcement notwithstanding the fact that one of its primary goals for organizing is to block a term-sharing proposal from becoming a reality.
Makabayan speakership bet Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna predicted an unsteady leadership in the Lower House as a result of the term-sharing scheme.
“And, despite this term sharing for convenience, the different factions and their political and economic backers are expected to still wage a war of dominance in the coming days, especially with the 2022 presidential elections already in the political horizon,” Zarate said.
Presidential children, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte who heads the Hugpong ng Pagbabago and Rep. Paolo Duterte, president of the Hugpong ng Tawong Lungsod, have yet to issue their own statement about their father’s decision.
The siblings are the architects of the coalition that has declared support for Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as the next speaker. The political parties of the two siblings have also rejected the proposed term-sharing scheme.
Cayetano celebrated Duterte’s announcement as he vowed to immediately transform the House of Representatives into a true “congress of the people” that would be responsive to the concerns of Filipinos.
“We prayed to the Lord to give the president good health and wisdom…we thank him for the announcement that he has made,” Cayetano stated in a video message uploaded on Facebook.
This could be the first time in Congress history that a president publicly announced what he wants to take place in the leadership of a co-equal branch of government.
IN his announcement, the chief executive said Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco will have to share the three-year term for a speaker while Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, who is believed to be the most popular among House members, will be the majority leader.
“We prayed to the Lord to give the president good health and wisdom…we thank him for the announcement that he has made,” said Cayetano in a video addressing his Facebook followers, minutes after Duterte’s announcement.
“Let’s all work together and let’s not make this about the politicians, about ourselves or the Duterte administration but something that can really uplift ang kabuhayaan ng mga Pilipino,” he added.
Ungab has yet to issue a statement on the president’s declaration. He was expected to appear before the Partylist Coalition Foundation Inc. to convince its members to choose him as its speakership bet.
However Makabayan bloc’s speakership bet, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate viewed Duterte’s change of mind about the speakership race as evidence of cracks in the supermajority coalition.
“As expected, contrary to his previous statements letting members of the House to freely choose their leaders, Pres. Duterte ‘stepped in’ in the House speakership race to salvage his already fractious coalition and, hopefully, secure its survival until 2022,” stated Zarate.
He added: “The cracks, though, are already very apparent in the once supermajority coalition.”