Cayetano now a virtual punching bag

Lacson, Pulong, Pimentel (2 times) and Mike Defensor take turns in undermining Cayetano

One week before Senator Manny Pacquiao enters a real boxing ring, there is a lot of pre-fight sparring that Congressman Alan Pater Cayetano is getting into. It all started with an endorsement by President Duterte of his 2016 vice presidential running mate (who lost), former Senator and Foreign Affairs Secretary and now Taguig Representative to become the next Speaker of the House in a term sharing agreement with Cong Lord Alan Velasco of Marinduque. The Duterte announcement sent shock waves in the House Administration super majority since Velasco and Leyte Congressman Martin Romualdez are reputed to have more votes committed to them already. The situation was further muddled when Presidential son and Davao Congressman Paolo Duterte threw his hat in the House Speaker ring. To avoid a possible backlash brought about by a Duterte President and House Speaker, Presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Inday Sara floated the name of Cong Ungab of Davao to be the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago standard bearer.

There was temporary calm and acceptance of the Presidential anointment of Cayetano until party list Congressman Mike Defensor displayed a vote for your choice text message allegedly from Sara Duterte (which she denied). Mike identified the sender only as a neophyte Congressman from Davao. Pulong, as Paolo Duterte is called, revealed that there could be a surprise move or coup in the forthcoming election for House Speaker  meaning pro Administration representatives may vote against the candidate of the President (Cayetano). Senator Panfilo Lacson put in his two cents worth against the proposal of Congressman Cayetano to extend the terms and/or term limits of Representatives and Senators. Senator Koko Pimentel confirmed the possibility of sudden changes in leadership both in the Lower House and in the Senate at any time, meaning Cayetano could win as House Speaker but still lose the position even before his fifteen months of term sharing are over.

ANALYSIS: Considering that Cong Alan Cayetano is a presumed contender to run for President or Vice President in 2022 and the position of House Speaker should enhance his chances for electoral victory to possibly succeed President Duterte, Cong Alan is being given a rough time (by his possible future opponents?). Political parties, groups and blocs all have their eyes on 2022 and the 2019 House Speaker race is a good indicator of strength and testing ground for horse trading, credit grabbing, back stabbing and alliance building. The road to Malacanang starts in the Lower House which is the reason why senators (Lacson, Pimentel) are weighing in on the chance to make a President, to break an aspiring President, or to become President (or Vice President). Outside Congress (Senate and House of Representatives), far away from Imperial Manila, Mayor Inday Sara of the now powerful Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (with nine elected senators in 2019) has shown her political prowess first with the removal of House Speaker Alvarez in 2018, and then with her orchestration of the 2019 senatorial contest. As long as the current Administration continues with its high popularity and acceptance ratings, the Duterte brand would still hold the position of the country’s Chief Executive after the term of Tatay Digong ends.

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