‘Cayetano Speakership was an 8.5 out of 10,’ says Defensor

Published October 20, 2020, 2:51 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

With his 15-month Speakership now history, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano’s performance was given a high rating of 8.5 out of 10 by Anakalusugan Party-List Rep. Mike Defensor.

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

Defensor made his assessment of Cayetano’s speakership in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected approximately eight months of Cayetano’s tenure.

“Given the limited time [of his Speakership] and the COVID crisis we were confronted with, I think [Cayetano] deserves an 8.5 rating. He was really hard working and had a strategic vision for the House,” said the solon, who chairs the Committee on Public Accounts.

Defensor went as far as to say that the House of Representatives outdid the Upper Chamber in terms of output during Cayetano’s stint at the helm, which began in late July 2019.

“In many ways, we were doing better than our Senate counterparts, and our ratings and reviews revealed that,” the party-list congressman said, referring to the lofty approval ratings that the House earned as per Pulse Asia in December 2019.

Back then, Cayetano posted an impressive 80 percent rating while the House as a whole garnered a 66 percent rating.

Defensor credited this to the Lower Chamber’s willingness to widen its perspective to cover not just parochial concerns but the entire nation’s.

“It is critical to position the House as having a national perspective, which we hope to continue. It was not just ‘my district’ or ‘my constituents’ but rather what is best for our people. So the collective move of Congress was based on this vision,” explained the former Malacañang chief-of-staff.

“The national budget, Bayanihan 1 and 2, the COVID hearings, the ABS-CBN franchise hearings, the ‘New Normal’ Act, the increase in the salaries of nurses were all geared toward this vision,” Defensor said, enumerating key pieces of legislation and House proceedings that took place under the Taguig-Pateros solon’s watch.

Cayetano had a term-sharing agreement with Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, the current Speaker. Velasco was elected by 186 House members as the new Speaker on Oct. 12, thereby ousting the Nacionalista Party stalwart.

Minutes later, Cayetano tendered his irrevocable resignation as Speaker via Facebook live. 

Velasco, President Duterte’s Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan party-mate, will lead the 301-strong House for the next 21 months or until the end of the 18th Congress.