Word war to slugfest? Teves dares Villafuerte to a fistfight | Inquirer News

Word war to slugfest? Teves dares Villafuerte to a fistfight

/ 08:30 PM September 18, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — “Sabihin mo kung gusto niya makipagsuntukan, suntukan kami kahit saan. Kahit doon pa sa plenary. Puro siya salita.”

(Tell him if he wants a fistfight, let’s do it anywhere. Even in the plenary. He talks too much.)

Negros Oriental 3rd Dist. Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. fired this challenge as the word war between him and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte continues after the former raised questions about the budget allocation of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to various congressional districts in the country – notably to the localities of the Camarines Sur congressman and House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano.


“Kung gusto nila ng away, magsabi lang. ganun lang ka-simple ‘yun. Gusto nila ng away, suntukan? Anytime, magsabi lang. Hindi na kailangan puro dada. Ayoko ng ganun,” Teves told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.


(If they want a fight, just say it, it’s that simple. Do they want a fight, fist fight? Anytime, just say it. No need for too much taking. I don’t like that.)

During the hearing of the House committee on appropriations on the proposed 2021 budget of DPWH, Teves bared what he called a “hearsay” that Taguig City is getting more than P8 billion while Camarines Sur is getting P11.8 billion from the agency.

Teves eventually mentioned Cayetano, who represents Taguig-Pateros in Congress, and Villafuerte in his argument.

Consequently, there was an alleged word war between Teves and Villafuerte on a Viber group chat.

Asked about this incident, Teves said: “Sana doon na siya umangal sa ano para nagsuntukan na kami sa floor. Matapang lang siya sa Viber eh.”

(I hope he complained there – so we’d fight on the floor. He’s only brave on Viber.)


“Sabihin mo kung gusto niya makipagsuntukan, suntukan kami kahit saan. Kahit doon pa sa plenary. Puro siya salita,” the lawmaker added.

(Tell him if he wants a fistfight, let’s do it anywhere. Even in the plenary. He talks too much.)

Again asked if the Viber incident indeed happened, Teves said: “Oo, ayoko na nga pumatol eh. Basta, mali.”

(Yes, I don’t want to stoop to that level. It’s wrong.)

Teves, however, did not elaborate further on the said Viber incident.

Merely hours after Teves publicly questioned the funds of DPWH, Villafuerte issued a statement—and he did not mince his words either.

“It is clear as day that Congressman Teves has launched this chicanery on the basis of mere hearsay as part of the sinister ploy hatched by the [Rep. Lord Allan] Velasco camp, in cahoots with former Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, to wreck Speaker Cayetano’s commitment to fast-track the approval of the 2021 GAA by hopefully finishing the committee and plenary deliberations on the budget in record time by end-September,” Villafuerte said.

But Teves insisted that his questioning was not related to the term-sharing agreement of Cayetano and Velasco.

“It’s not related to the speakership. It was an honest question. Kilala ninyo na ako. Kung tungkol sa speakership ‘yun, sasabihin ko tungkol ‘to sa speakership (You know me. If it’s about the speakership, I will say it),” Teves said.

“Ako ‘yung tao na ‘pag tinanong mo ng pangalan, ibibigay ko ay pangalan hindi address. Kapag tinanong mo ako ng address, address ang ibibigay ko. Never ako nagpaligoy-ligoy sa Kongreso ever since,” he added.

(I’m the type of person that if you ask me for a name, I will give a name not an address. If you ask me for an address, I will give an address. I never go round and round in Congress ever since.)

To recall, in July 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte said Cayetano would serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress while Velasco would succeed to serve for the remaining 21 months under a term-sharing agreement.

If this is to be followed, Cayetano’s term would end in October this year.

In February, Cayetano claimed that Velasco is promising chairmanship and budget allocation to members of the lower chamber, saying that he received  “verified” information regarding an “attempt” to oust him as Speaker.

Velasco denied the alleged plan to oust Cayetano, saying the reports regarding the issue were “baseless.”

Velasco also said that he is honoring the term-sharing deal.

Linked to e-gambling

In a separate statement on Friday, Villafuerte asked Teves and Benitez to explain their alleged links to illegal e-gambling in the country instead of resorting “to squid tactics just to camouflage their participation in the sinister ploy” to scuttle the speedy approval of the 2021 national budget.

Villafuerte said both Teves and Benitez should explain their suspected ties to Sabong International, an internet-based cockfighting online site that was flagged by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.

“Benitez and Teves should explain to the public whether they are indeed connected to Sabong International, rather than resorting to squid tactics by raising a phony issue against me in a desperate bid to camouflage the wretched fact that they have been in cahoots with the Velasco bloc in maneuvering to mess up the House leadership’s commitment to fast-track the chamber’s approval of the proposed 2021 GAA,” Villafuerte said.

In response, Teves said Villafuerte should prove his claims.

“Ang daming sinabi ni L-Ray ‘di ba? Sabihin lahat ng sinabi niya, i-prove niya… Lahat nga ng sinabi niya, i-prove niya. It’s not for me to prove, it’s for him to prove,” Teves said.

(L-Ray talks too much, right? Tell him to prove everything that he said… It’s not for me to prove, it’s for him to prove.)

“Unahin niya munang i-prove ‘yung sinabi niya tungkol kay Albee at kay Lord, wala naman siyang pruweba dun. Bago tayo dumating sa e-gambling, unahin niya muna ‘yun. Puro siya salita,” he added.

(He should first prove what he said about Albee and Lord, he does not have evidence for those. Before we go to e-gambling, let him prove those first. He talks too much.)

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INQUIRER.net reached out to Villafuerte for a comment on this story but has yet to receive a reply as of this posting.

TAGS: 2021 budget, Politics, word war

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