Turning 50 as Speaker was part of term-sharing deal, says Cayetano

Published September 30, 2020, 11:32 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

What’s wrong with celebrating your 50th birth anniversary as Speaker of the House?

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN / FILE PHOTO)

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano bared in his privilege speech Wednesday that the matter of birthdays became a sticking point in his meeting with rival Marinduque lone district Rep. Lord Alan Velasco the previous night in Malacañang.

According to Cayetano, it was part of the original details of his term-sharing agreement with Velasco that he cede his post after October 28, 2020–his 50th birthday.

However, he said Velasco was insistent during the meeting that Cayetano step down on October 14. Or else the “15-21” term-split will not have been honored, Velasco allegedly told President Duterte who was mediating the meeting.

“Very clear ang usapan: I have two budgets na ipapasa, and magbi-birthday ako na ako ang Speaker. Sabi niya (Velasco), ‘E birthday ko rin e!’ (The deal was very clear: I have two budgets to pass, and I will celebrate my birthday as Speaker. He said, ‘It’s also my birthday!’)” Cayetano recalled the meeting.

The Marinduque lawmaker will turn 43 on November 9.

“Sabi ko, ‘Pare 50th birthday ko, sentimental lang sa ’kin.’ Sabi n’ya, ‘Ang babaw mo naman.’ Sabi ko, ‘Oo mababaw talaga ako.’ Mababaw talaga ako e, sentimental—e sino ba naman ang nagfi-fifty years old sa atin na hindi sentimental? (I said, ‘Compadre, it’s my 50th birthday, it’s sentimental for me.’ He said, ‘You’re shallow.’ I said, ‘Yes I’m really shallow.’ I really am shallow and sentimental. Who among us turns fifty without being sentimental?)” Cayetano said.

The Taguig-Pateros solon further told Velasco: “Pare ang dami mo pang birthday, ang bata mo pa e (You’ll have more birthdays to come, compadre, you’re very young).”

Apparently it was Velasco who got his way in the end, with Duterte approving the October 14 turnover date. Cayetano claimed that the President left it to him to announce the upcoming change, so as to keep things orderly.

However, the October 14 turnover date began popping up in social media and within the solons’ Viber threads that same evening. This irked the incumbent Speaker.

Cayetano and Velasco have a term-sharing agreement for the Speakership–the country’s fourth most powerful position.

Under this unprecedented deal, which Duterte himself brokered last year, Cayetano will serve as Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress, while Velasco will finish the remaining 21 months at the chamber’s helm.