Taguig Representative-elect Alan Peter Cayetano warned Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte that he would break up the administration coalition if she would endorse Marinduque Representative Lord Allan Velasco's bid to become Speaker.
The daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, who campaigned nationwide for senatorial candidates who supported her father's legislative agenda, confirmed that Cayetano didn't ask for her endorsement when he visited Davao City last year.
“Congressman-elect Alan Peter Cayetano was correct when he said that he did not seek for my endorsement when he came to Davao to talk to me sometime last year," Sara said in a statement.
"He, however, came with a veiled threat, that if I endorse Representative Velasco for Speaker, I would break up the ‘group.’ And this, he said, will affect the Presidential elections of 2022,” she added.
Cayetano is one of several lawmakers who has expressed willingness to run for the Speaker during the campaign period.
During sorties of the candidates endorsed by Sara's regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, the Davao mayor called Velasco and then Leyte Representative-elect Martin Romualdez as the next Speaker.
Sara did not express her support for Cayetano but said she would back any one who would support Duterte's legislative agenda.
In an interview during the campaign period, Cayetano said that he would not have quit his post as Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs if Duterte would not give him an important task.
Cayetano was Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 polls but he placed third behind then Camarines Sur Representative and incumbent Vice President Leni Robredo, and then Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Jockeying for Speaker
With the elections over and the composition of the 18th Congress known, he jockeying for the post of Speaker of the House has begun.
As early as October last year, Cayetano had declared that Duterte wanted him to become Speaker.
However, in November 2018, in a public gathering, Duterte called Velasco as the next House Speaker, a move being backed by Sara.
Velasco's family enjoys the backing of Duterte. In the recently-held elections, several members of the Velasco family cemented their grip in various posts in the province by beating their opponents.
Velasco's father, retired Supreme Court Justice Presbitero Velasco, won as governor of Marinduque. In Torrijos town, the Velasco matriarch also won as town mayor.
Aiming to make a comeback after being ousted in June last year is Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alvarez vowed to gun for the top post of the chamber anew, banking on the support of his colleagues.
Sara as kingmaker
After making a clean sweep of the candidates for senators she endorsed in the May 13 elections, Sara Duterte is expected to play a role in the choice for the next Speaker.
Talks abound that in June, she played a key role in the ascent to the speakership of former President and Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Few weeks after Arroyo was installed as House leader, ousting Alvarez, Sara congratulated her and called her strong leader.
Hostility between Sara and Alvarez began after the latter allegedly said in a public gathering that the House can always impeach the President and that Sara was part of the opposition.
Sara took to social media to lambast Alvarez, saying he "messed with the wrong girl."
Alvarez supposedly offered the hand of reconciliation, but which Sara turned down.
Duterte's daughter said Alvarez had been talking behind her back.
“I have no intention of accepting Representative Bebot Alvarez’s offer of reconciliation because the offer was deceiving and utterly lacked sincerity,” Sara said in a statement on Tuesday night.
“Unknown to him, he was surreptitiously videotaped when he threatened, after his win in the recent elections in Davao del Norte, 'Ipapahiya ko si Sara',” Sara added.—NB/LDF, GMA News