MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte shrugged off Thursday the hint of his eldest son Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte that there might be a “coup d’etat” over the House of Representatives leadership.
“Have you heard of wishful thinking?” the President said in response to the possibility.
The President had endorsed his former running mate Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano for the speakership of the 18th Congress for the first 15 months, to be followed by his PDP-Laban party-mate Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for 21 months. Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, meanwhile, will be the majority leader.
Asked whether he is confident that Cayetano could get enough votes to secure the post, Duterte said “he will.”
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Thursday said Duterte’s influence would remain unscathed even if lawmakers do not heed his endorsement of Cayetano as House Speaker.
“No, it’s not a reflection of the clout of the President. Because the President didn’t want to interfere in the first, didn’t wanna intrude. It’s them who somehow persuaded him to come in,” Panelo said.
“In the ultimate analysis, the vote on the speaker would lie on the members of Congress. The only reason why the President gave that suggestion is because those vying for it went to him and sought his wise suggestion to settle the row between and among them,” he said.
PDP-Laban president Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III had said the coup was "theoretically possible," advising Cayetano to ensure he has convinced the House majority to choose him as Speaker.
In 2018, Speaker Gloria Arroyo seized the top post from Davao del Norte Rep Pantaleon Alvarez, reportedly with the backing of the President's daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The coup happened hours before President Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address. The new speaker will be elected on July 22, the day of the 2019 SONA.