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 THE HOUSE SPEAKERSHIP COUP THAT DIDN'T HAPPEN. The rumored call for replacement of House Speaker Allan Peter Cayetano, which was supposed to happen Monday, September 21, did not happen. The House met only for 18 minutes and suspended the session. No motion was raised to declare the speaker's and other leadership posts vacant. Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte's text messages to House members set off the coup rumor.
 DUTERTE MAY NOT PUSH SPEAKERSHIP DEAL. President Rodrigo Duterte was quoted as saying he hopes that the term-sharing deal he approved last year will push through but if Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco won't get the numbers, it is up to the legislators.
'Wealthy' in private life
Last January 5, Land Transportation Office Regional Director Victor Caindec brushed off the allegation he amassed wealth in just two years in office, saying he was "a millionaire" before he joined LTO-7 as its head. He blamed his biological father, with whom he had been estranged, for the string of anonymous complaints about his "sudden, unexplained wealth."
That was early January, when news reports and an opinion column by Bobby Nalzaro in SunStar, which disclosed details of the accusation and suggested a lifestyle check on Caindec. Last July 19, the advocacy group called Pinoy Aksyon asked Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to look into the complaints against Caindec.
Tuesday, September 22, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque flatly accused Caindec of "extorting money from Cebu motorcycle distributors over vehicle registrations.
At a Palace news briefing, Roque said it is a matter of "public document already" -- he said he has the affidavits -- to prove that he was extorting from motorcycle distributors. Caindec, Roque said, "delayed release of license plates if he did not get the amount he wanted."
Before the "unmasking" of Caindec, Roque had reportedly told him "to shape up" as "the president has zero tolerance on corruption."
Caindec: "Who is corrupt?"
The LTO-7 chief, in a press-con in Cebu City on the same day, said the accusations against him are "an attempt to silence him." He said he had been conducting an investigation on transactions made by a large vehicle dealership, claiming that it is only their regional office, among all other LTO offices in the country, that are doing. "Kami ra diay ang corrupt?" he said.
He had refused a bribe offer, Caindec said, and the attacks against him began. He did not show evidence of the bribe or give details about it but he asked Roque for a chance to prove his case.
The motorcycle dealers alleged, according to Roque, Caindec was "extorting" them. Caindec in response said he was investigating the motorcycle dealer company, whose bribe offer he said he rejected.
A circular route for determining dishonesty, which begs the question about each side's honesty.
An independent inquiry is needed but the way Roque tags Caindec, the presidential spokesman seems already convinced who is corrupt.
P.S. There's another possibility, an LTO watcher told Bzzzzz: a deal went south, and "each pot is calling the other pot black."
Switching jobs with Tomas
Bzzzzz reported last January 7 that Caindec "tangled with Tomas on traffic, now with Nalzaro on wealth."
Caindec's response to Harry Roque is reminiscent of his reply to Nalzaro eight months ago. In a Facebook post on January 7, he accused Nalzaro of "receiving an envelope," presumably containing cash, from him when he was still a private person. Now he is accusing the vehicle dealer of attempting to bribe him. A case of tossing back the charge of dishonesty to the accuser.
In July 2018, Caindec had a fierce word war with the mayor of the city where the LTO has its regional office. He accused Tomas Osmeña, the mayor at the time, of playing politics, after Tomas said, also on FB, that Caindec was doing poorly as LTO director. He dared the mayor to switch jobs with him: Caindec would be the city mayor and Tomas would run LTO-7.
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