Yap sees Cayetano keeping speakership amid alleged ouster plot
MANILA, Philippines — Will House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano be removed from his post this afternoon amid talks of declaring leadership posts in the lower chamber vacant? If ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Yap is asked, he has a “99 percent feeling” that Cayetano will keep his post.
In an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel, Yap, who chairs the powerful House Appropriations Committee, was asked if he can categorically state that there would be no leadership change or a coup in the lower chamber.
“Ito po, opinyon ko lang ito pero I have 99.9 percent feeling na talagang si Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano pa rin ang magiging Speaker namin dahil wala namang problema sa pamamalakad niya so ‘yung ibang mga parochial concerns ng mga congressman, we try to address that,” Yap said
(This is my opinion. I am 99.9 percent confident that Speaker Cayetano will still be the speaker. We have no problems with his leadership.)
Presidential son and House Deputy Speaker Paolo Duterte, also a close ally of Yap, was reportedly planning to declare leadership posts in the lower chamber vacant as some congressmen argue over the proposed 2021 national budget.
But Yap clarified that Duterte never said he would personally declare the leadership posts vacant.
“‘Yung sinabi niya is parang sinasabi niya sa mga members na kung kayo nagrereklamo, hindi kayo masaya sa leadership, e di kayo mag-declare ng vacancy sa leadership. Ang stand niya from the start is pagdating sa budget, ayaw niya makialam,” Yap said.
(What he said was that complaining congressmen can declare a leadership vacancy. He does not want to meddle.)
“Never naman niyang sinabi na he will declare. Ang sabi niya, he will ask the Mindanao bloc kung may reklamo sila, then sila mag-declare kasi siya, wala naman siyang reklamo dahil hindi siya nakikialam sa budget eh,” he added.
(He never said he will declare. What he said was he will ask the Mindanao bloc, if they have issues, they can declare the vacancy.)
The lawmaker would later repeat this, saying “Never siyang nagsabi na he will declare na siya mismo. Hindi niya sinabi ‘yun.”
“Siguro yung out of context lang ‘yung umikot siguro na text message pero ang pinakapoint niya din ay kung mayroong hindi happy sa leadership, anytime naman pwede naman silang magpalit ng leadership, depende sa majority ‘yan kung ano ang maging decision,” Yap said.
(Maybe his message was taken out of context. His point os that those who are not satisfied with the current leadership can move to have a change in leadership. It’s all up tp the decision of the majority.)
Yap said Duterte “remains loyal to the institution”, adding that the presidential son would follow whatever is the decision of the majority.
In a text message that INQUIRER.net saw over the weekend, Duterte said in a Viber group of congressmen that he will “ask the Mindanao bloc to declare the seat of the Speaker and Deputy Speakers vacant” this Monday so that the region would not “die” for lack of budget amid disagreements.
“I am also encouraging the minority,” Duterte added.
Duterte confirmed this text message in a statement released Sunday, saying that text message was just an expression of his “personal dismay” upon learning of the trading of barbs in the lower chamber.
The presidential son, however, refused to get involved in the House leadership row.
“Although I am an ex officio member being a Deputy Speaker, I have respectfully and clearly told them that their concern is something that I would rather stay away from — out of delicadeza because my father is the President,” the lawmaker said.
“Most of these concerns shrouded doubts over the process and mistrust of the lawmakers ruling the House, those who are acting as if they are bigger than their colleagues.”
“Respectfully, I told them that I did not want to get involved,” Duterte went on.
The fiasco began during the Department of Public Works and Highways’ budget briefing before the House appropriations panel when Negros Oriental Rep. Arnolfo Teves, Jr. questioned the distribution of funds between congressional districts, particularly the congressional districts of Cayetano and Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund Villafuerte in Taguig City and Camarines Sur, respectively.
This led to Teves and Villafuerte firing back allegations against each other—even to the point of the two congressmen having an argument over Viber.
“Sabihin mo kung gusto niya makipagsuntukan, suntukan kami kahit saan. Kahit doon pa sa plenary, puro siya salita,” Teves said.
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