By Ellson Quismorio
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano posted a cryptic tirade on his Facebook against certain “undesirables” in the House amid an alleged plan to oust him.
“I believe in silver linings – so thank you to the Triple A Boys in Congress- [yung] mga puro absent, sipsip sa ABSCBN, at yung mga nagaantay lang ng allotments (the always absent, the ABSCBN suck-ups, and those merely waiting for allotments) – you’ve shown me just how desperately we need to reform this institution,” he wrote on his wall late Saturday night.
Cayetano did not mention any names in his latest post on Facebook, which has been his preferred means of communication throughout his Speakership.
“I believe most members of Congress see and appreciate the reforms I stand for. If they do, then I will continue to serve as their Speaker. If they don’t, then they can remove me, I will continue to serve as the Representative of Taguig and Pateros. I will continue the lonely fight with whoever will join me,” he further said.
Cayetano last week accused Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Alan Velasco of masterminding a coup against him, which would allow the latter of taking over the Speakership ahead of what had been agreed upon in their term-sharing agreement.
Under this “gentleman’s agreement,” Velasco will assume the chamber’s top post around October this year.
Cayetano claimed that Velasco has been offering House members “funds and committee chairmanships” in exchange for support to the coup plan. These solons, at least 20, reportedly told the incumbent Speaker about the plot.
“I believe in what I believe. I will not be transactional. I will not sacrifice my principles and this administration’s priorities,” the at-times outspoken Cayetano said as if getting ready for war.
Happy with Cayetano
Meanwhile, a ranking House member, who declined to be identified, believes that an ouster ploy against Cayetano won’t succeed because congressmen were “happy” with the current leadership.
“I don’t think the Speaker is in danger of being ousted at all. I think most congressmen are happy with him,” the solon said.
It can be recalled that the House has enjoyed high ratings in the eyes of the public under Cayetano’s leadership. A Pulse Asia survey last December showed that the 302-strong chamber garnered a 66 percent performance rating, up from its September survey score of 60 percent.
Cayetano’s personal performance rating last December was pegged at 80 percent, which was a 16-percentage point improvement from the previous September survey when he received a 64 percent score.
As for the contentious ABS-CBN franchise renewal issue, the same unnamed House official said that congressmen were, for the most part, on the same page with the Speaker on what to do.
“My sense is that everyone…more or less has an understanding of what the direction of the leadership is and that is to have the franchise expire and hold hearings after. And so all the others who are making noise…are just grandstanding because they already know what will happen. I guess that’s why the Speaker is saying they are “sipsip” (suck ups) and “eager to please the network,” added the solon.
The broadcast network giant’s operating franchise will expire after March 30, 2020.
Last week, Buhay Party-List Rep. Lito Atienza insinuated in a television interview that Cayetano should be replaced as Speaker if the House continues to sit on the pending bills of the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise.