HOUSE Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s personal ambitions know no bounds. He is already occupying a powerful position but he is treating it as a mere stepping stone to a goal, which is to become this country’s president. That is why he is not relinquishing that post when it can’t be used effectively yet as a campaign platform. The next presidential election will be in 2022 yet.
When Cayetano ran for the speakership post, his opponent was Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, who got the support of presidential daughter Sara. To ensure that the House leadership would not be split, President Duterte brokered a term-sharing agreement that allowed Cayetano to assume the post of House Speaker first to be followed by Velasco.
Which reminded me of a joke after former president Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and seized political power, one that he should have had relinquished at the end of his second term in 1973 (the 1935 Constitution which was in effect then no longer allowed Marcos to run for another reelection). The joke was that God held tight to his throne after Marcos died, worried that Marcos would seize it and would no longer step down.
I think we can now start calling Cayetano as “Marcos lite” because he no longer wants to follow the term-sharing agreement with Velasco and is intending to continue serving as House Speaker “forever.” Using the support he got from traditional politicians and questionable characters in the House of Representatives, Cayetano is making it appear like he is God’s gift to that Chamber.
President Duterte had to call a meeting with Cayetano and Velasco to settle the matter but Cayetano is not relinquishing the post even with the President’s supposed quip: “kawawa naman si Lord.” Velasco’s camp claimed that Cayetano is supposed to relinquish the speakership post on Oct. 14. Cayetano’s camp claimed no agreement was forged.
If Velasco won’t back down and the President will take a “hands-off” posture, then a leadership showdown is looming in the House. The Cayetano camp is confident it has the numbers but that could change once Sara decides to, sort of, take the bull by the horn. If she, even if just silently, campaigns for Velasco, then the battle is over.
Cayetano’s fate is actually dependent on Sara’s own ambitions. If she wants to succeed her father, then she is on a collision course with Cayetano in 2022. Others insist, though, that she merely intends to run for a Senate seat. Still, a fight with Vice President Leni Robredo for the presidency is a palatable prospect.
But back to Cayetano. It does look like his effort to realize his political ambition is being stymied by women. When he ran for vice president in 2019 Robredo, a neophyte in national politics, was there to meet him. He now has to hope that Sara will not meet him in 2022. If that happens, I will say that the challenge by two women will be difficult for the ambitious Cayetano to overcome.