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Gloria Arroyo allies in NUP back speakership bid of former critic Alan Cayetano

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The allies of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the National Unity Party has endorsed the bid for the House leadership of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, a staunch critic of the Speaker when she was President.

NUP chairman and former Interior and Local Government Secretary Ronaldo Puno, said Cayetano was the party's choice given the latter’s unequivocal support for President Rodrigo Duterte and experience in government.

“For these reasons, the NUP leadership is inclined towards former Congressman, former Senator, and former Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, who we believe is someone all Congressmen can look up to, and like Speaker Arroyo, was with President Duterte from the start and has a proven track record,” Puno said in a statement.

“We believe the next Speaker must be someone who has the competence and proven ability to support and help carry out the programs and policies of the Duterte administration,” he added.

Puno, however, said that the party would support the pick of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), the regional political party founded by Duterte's daughter Sara.

“We supported the HNP when they worked for the election of former President Gloria Arroyo as Speaker, and we believe the HNP provided our country great service by enlisting a former President who has extensive government experience in both the Executive and Legislative branches of Government, foreign relations and commands the  respect of every House member,” Puno said.

“The NUP will still await the consultations with the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago which we hope will transpire after the elections. The NUP will heed advice from the HNP on who they believe can best serve the Duterte Administration as Speaker of The House of Representatives,” he added.

Last week, Cayetano said he would not have quit his post as the country’s top diplomat if he is not headed to take on an important role in the House of Representatives.

Cayetano did not mention the Speakership but he hinted of his willingness to shepherd the President’s legislative agenda if he wins as Taguig representative in the May polls.

“Hindi naman ako magreresign sa DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) kung walang espesyal na ipapagawa sa atin ang ating Pangulo. Pangako ko sa kanya noong September 2015, sa six years niya, tutok ako kung ano ang kailangan niya,” Cayetano, who served as DFA Chief from May 2017 to October 2018, said in an interview during HNP’s campaign sortie in Pateros.

“Having said that, alam niyo naman sa mundong ito, Diyos lang may alam anong mangyayari. We just have to work hard, have faith. Ang importante, ‘yung legislative agenda ng Presidente…kung paano natin maipapasa [na maging batas] na maikli na lang ang panahon,” Cayetano added.

Cayetano, however, clarified that he is not thinking so far ahead that it could reach the Speakership.

“Kung susundin natin ang ating Pangulo ay 'yun ang mag focus muna tayo na maipanalo lahat ng kandidato [ng administrasyon]," he said.

"I'm not concerned sa endorsements sa speakership kasi I am secured kung ano ang napag-usapan namin ng liderato ng ating bansa na tumulong muna na maipanalo ang mga kandidato namin," Cayetano added.

Then Senator Cayetano served as the running of then Presidential candidate and Davao city Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 polls. Duterte won the race in an overwhelming fashion with 16 million votes, but Cayetano lost and finished a far third with 5.6 million votes. —

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