Palace welcomes election of Cayetano as new Speaker; Solid House support for Duterte’s legislative agenda expected

Published July 22, 2019, 4:56 PM

by Ellalyn De Vera & Richa Noriega

By Argyll Geducos

Malacañang has welcomed the election of Taguig Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo made the statement minutes before Duterte delivered his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) Monday afternoon.

In an interview, Panelo said that the Palace welcomes the election of Cayetano and they expect that the House of Representatives will support Duterte’s legislative agenda.

“Given the fact that they admire the President, they believe in the agenda of the President, then all legislation that the President… they will be supportive,” he said.

After weeks of being asked by his party-mates to make a decision, President Duterte early this month endorsed Cayetano’s bid for the Speakership. He is to share the term with Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco.

However, it was reported early Monday that Duterte threatened to skip his fourth SONA if the there will be another drama with the House of Representatives like what happened last year when members of the Lower Chamber ousted Pantaleon Alvarez as House Speaker and elected former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the position.

Panelo, in an interview with CNN Philippines, clarified that Duterte only wants everything to be settled already before he goes to Batasan Pambansa to deliver his SONA.

“Ang sinabi lang ni Presidente, kailangan may Speaker na pagdating niya, hindi iyong kagaya noon na nagkakagulo pa sila. Otherwise, matutulog na lang siya (What the President meant was before he goes there, they should already have a Speaker unlike last year when they had a fiasco. Otherwise, he will just sleep),” he said.

According to Panelo, it would not have mattered to Duterte if the House elected Cayetano as Speaker since the President respects the independence of the Legislative Branch.

“The President didn’t want to interfere, in fact, he avoided it a hundred percent. But the three rivals sought his help; they wanted him to intervene to help them. So what he did was to suggest a formula,” he said.

“But that suggestion of formula does not mean interference; it means, that’s my suggestion to you, it’s for you to decide whom you will choose. After all, they have their own independence,” he added.