Former speaker and Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday called for unity among all Duterte administration allies as he appealed for an end to the ongoing Lower House revamp that resulted in the purging of his closest allies.
In an ambush interview in Bulacan, Cayetano implied that his successor, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco had reneged on his promise to President Duterte that he will not reorganize the House leadership once he becomes the speaker.
“Well, ako po ay witness na buhay na sa harap ng Pangulo ay nangako po si Congressman Velasco na walang tanggalan (I am a living witness that Velasco promised to the President that there will be no purge),” he said.
Even in past interviews when he was still speaker, Cayetano insisted that under the 15-21 term-sharing agreement he and Velasco forged, change will be limited to the speakership and the chairman of the House Committee on Accounts.
However, it will be recalled that during his term, Cayetano sacked Mindoro Oriental Rep. Salvador Leachon and Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab as head of the House of Representative Electoral Tribunal Contingent and chairman of the powerful Committee on Appropriations, respectively.
Leachon, now a deputy speaker, and Ungab were accused by Cayetano of plotting to overthrow his leadership to install Velasco.
On Wednesday, the Lower House leadership decided to relieve Reps. Raneo Abu (NP, Batangas); Dan Fernandez (NUP, Laguna) and Fredenil Castro (Lakas-CMD, Capiz) of their positions as deputy speaker.
Cayetano said Abu and Fernandez have played key roles in addressing the problems triggered by the Taal volcano eruption and the controversy surrounding the Meralco billings, respectively.
Elected to take Abu’s post was Las Pinas Rep. Camille Villar who declined the position in a letter she sent late Wednesday to Velasco. On the other hand, Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez replaced Fernandez.
A number of lawmakers from both the minority and majority blocs were stunned by Villar’s decision since they believe that she had prior consent of being designated deputy speaker before it was formalized on the plenary floor on Wednesday.
Cayetano did not mention Castro in the interview although it was the Capiz solon who delivered privilege speeches that were strongly critical against Velasco during the height of the recent speakership dispute.
“So sana po, huli na sana yun at maayos na kasi hindi ko talaga masabi yung mangyayari dahil hindi ko naman kontrolado ang kalooban ng lahat ng kongresista. (I hope that was the last and everything will be settled because I cannot predict what will happen since I do not control what most congressmen feel),” Cayetano said.