Cayetano says he secured Ungab's backing for speaker

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2019 09:45 AM | Updated as of Jul 22 2019 02:58 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) -- Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano said Monday he secured the support of Davao lawmakers led by President Rodrigo Duterte's eldest son, ahead of the opening of sessions where he hopes to get elected speaker of the House of Representatives.

Cayetano met with the group of Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte for breakfast Monday, hours before the opening of the 18th Congress and the President's State of the Nation Address later in the day.

The former foreign secretary, whom the President endorsed as speaker, said he was "happy" with the declaration of support from Davao City 3rd District Rep. Isidro Ungab.

Hugpong ng Pagbabago, led by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, earlier endorsed Ungab as speaker until the President proposed a term-sharing compromise between Cayetano and Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

“Nagbilin si Cong. Pulong na para hindi madelay ay lumipat muna dito at si Cong. Ungab ang nagsalita for him,” Cayetano said, referring to the President's son by his nickname.

(Cong. Pulong asked that, to avoid delays, Cong. Ungab should be here to speak for him.)

Duterte and Ungab arrived at Cayetano’s breakfast meeting around 9 a.m.

Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said the chamber appeared to be more “unified” now, compared to last year when he was ousted in a coup that installed then Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as speaker.

“Mukhang wala this year kasi nagkasundo naman lahat, malinaw,” Alvarez told ABS-CBN News.

(It looks like there's none today because everyone agrees and it's clear.)

“Wala ring gumagalaw na separate forces. Ito mukhang unified ang House of Representatives,” he said.

(No separate forces are moving. This looks like a unified House of Representatives.)

Antique Rep. Loren Legarda described the meeting with Duterte as "a gathering of friends and colleagues."

"I think it’s clear that we are supporting the speakership bid of Speaker Alan," she told ABS-CBN News in a separate interview.

Asked about the possibility of a nominee to challenge Cayetano, Duterte said: “Mamaya malalaman natin.”

(We will know later.)