General Admission

 Why Cayetano clinched the Speakership first

By: Al S. Mendoza

FROM the very start, Alan Peter Cayetano would be first. 

He will be the Speaker of the House in the 18th Congress’s first 15 months that begins on July 22.

That coincides with the State of the Nation Address at the Batasan, where President Duterte will deliver his third Sona since he was shoved to Malacanang by a landslide win in 2016.

The Speakership script was palpable.

After losing as President Duterte’s running mate, Cayetano got himself appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary after completing the one-year ban on defeated candidates for appointment to a government post.

Cayetano wouldn’t stay long there, though.

He would shortly resign to run as representative in his native Taguig.

Although that triggered a storm as his wife also ran as representative in the district next to Alan’s, their constituents still voted them to Congress.

Quite weird but that’s how queer democracy works at times.

They didn’t break any law—not even a Comelec regulation—making the husband-and-wife bets as eligible as Juan dela Cruz to join the 2019 elections.

Not to brag but I knew all along that Cayetano could bag the coveted top Congress post after the May polls.

You can say it’s written in the stars. A done deal.

If you know your politics, you won’t be surprised when Mr. Duterte named Cayetano Speaker for the first 15 months of the 18th Congress.

There is such a thing as loyalty to your party.  You consistently must have to abide along party lines at all times.

There is also such a thing as faithfulness to your constituents.  What you promised them, you must keep, also at all times.

And then this:  Never ever abandon your party mate. You win with him, you lose with him.

Mr. Duterte has embraced all three with conviction and all honesty in his last three years in office.

Thus, when there was much ruckus and chaos over who among Cayetano, Lord Allan Velasco and Martin Romualdez would become Speaker, the President was forced to enter the picture.

No, he didn’t gate-crash into the bedlam but instead, his word was sought out.

Even before he would reveal his opinion, I knew his decision:  Cayetano would be first.

And while he merely kept his word to Cayetano, Mr. Duterte’s next move was a political masterpiece:  term sharing between Alan and Lord.

By allowing Velasco to be Speaker in the last 21 months of the 18th Congress, that sealed it.  Case close.

Being himself a grizzled political animal, Cayetano readily relented.

Always, a good soldier knows the correct answer: Yes.

Besides, this political principle was also at work here: politics is the art of compromise.  

It is a truism till the end of time.

As for Romualdez?  He should know where he belongs from Day One.  Salimpusa.

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