MANILA - Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday claimed Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte has agreed to become his deputy speaker, in what could be an end to speculation that the presumptive Speaker would face a coup when Congress opens on July 22.
Posting a photo of him with Duterte on Facebook, Cayetano said President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son accepted the “challenge” to become the next Deputy Speaker for Political Affairs.
"Thank you very much Cong. Paolo 'Pulong' Duterte for our talk on what the country needs and how we can put together a very responsive Congress," Cayetano said.
"Together we can all work towards a better Philippines and implement the President's agenda."
The President earlier endorsed a term-sharing deal between Cayetano, a Nacionalista, and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, who belongs to ruling party PDP-Laban, for the House Speakership.
Under the deal, Cayetano will serve first, staying at the helm for 15 months, while Velasco will serve for the next 21 months.
Cayetano, Duterte’s defeated running mate in the 2016 polls who later served as his top diplomat, has vowed to honor the deal.
Following his father's endorsement of the speakership deal, the younger Duterte hinted that there might be a “coup d’etat” over the House leadership. The President dismissed this as “wishful thinking.”
Paolo Duterte and his sister Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte had earlier formed a “Duterte Coalition” with other Davao Region lawmakers.
They proposed that Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab be installed as Speaker, but this did not pan out as the President already intervened on the matter and chose Cayetano to lead the House.
While Duterte has made his pick for Speaker, Malacañang maintained that members of the House are still free to choose their leader when Congress formally opens on July 22. The chamber is dominated by the President's allies.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the Davao lawmaker for comment but has yet to get a response.