'She wants the position': Cayetano slams Hontiveros over CA post

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 25 2022 07:16 PM

Senate PRIB
Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Risa Hontiveros. Voltaire F. Domingo/Senate PRIB

MANILA — Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano on Thursday defended his selection as minority leader of the Commission on Appointments (CA) after it was questioned by opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros.

“Bottomline, she wants the position. She wants to do a good job, so do I. But again, tatanungin ko sa kanya, ‘Sen. Risa ano’ng mas importante sa’yo—we do a good job, we fiscalize, we serve our people or posisyon?’” he said.

Hontiveros raised concern over the election of Cayetano as CA minority leader for being not an original member of the minority in the Senate. Cayetano and his sister, Sen. Pia, label themselves as "independent" bloc.

Cayetano asserted he is technically still a member of the minority bloc in the Senate since he had not voted for Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.

By Senate rules, the majority and minority blocs are determined by those who voted for the sitting Senate President.

He clarified also that he is not part of the minority bloc of Hontiveros and Senate minority leader Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

“Sabi ko, I will not join the Pimentel-Hontiveros minority, because I do not agree with some of their stands. And I want to be able to help the administration when it’s possible, but to criticize and fiscalize ‘pag pwede. Pero very, very clear na ako’y nasa minority,” Cayetano told reporters in a press conference.

'QUALIFIED'

Cayetano said he has the experience and qualification for the CA minority leader post.

“Pagdating sa CA, I have more experience in dealing with secretaries, being a former secretary myself. I have always been a member of the CA since my time in the senate. Four kaming minority doon," said Cayetano, who served as Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary in the previous administration.

"Kasalanan ko ba na walang nag-nominate sa kaniya at ako ‘yong binoto ng majority? Hindi. So bakit niya gagawing issue ‘yon?” he added, referring to Hontiveros.

Hontiveros, the lone "opposition figure" in the CA, said Tuesday that lawmakers should not join the majority or minority at different times to suit their purposes.

Zubiri said he explained to Hontiveros that the CA is an independent constitutional body made up of the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

"Iba ang composition ng minority. 'Yan din explanation ko kay Risa. Yung minority ng CA is different from the minority in the House and of the Senate. It’s not necessarily because you are part of the minority bloc in the Senate, you are automatically the minority of the CA. it is the members of the minority bloc in the CA who will decide," the Senate President said.

Cayetano, a former 2-term senator and House Speaker, said that his vying for the CA role was not about position but about “strengthening” the commission.

Video from Sherrie Ann Torres

He used the term “dilawan” to describe Hontiveros’ questioning of his appointment, saying it was being exclusionary rather than inclusive.

“I don’t think there’s any limitation on Sen. Risa’s practice of fiscalizing sa CA. But I think many people who are in the opposition all around the country would agree that I can represent them well in looking at the qualifications and integrity and the competence of Pres. Marcos’s appointees to the cabinet,” said Cayetano.

Cayetano criticized President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and his family when the two were vying for the vice presidency in 2016. Both lost to former Vice President Leni Robredo during that year's elections.

Hontiveros has said she could not work under Cayetano as CA minority leader.

Cayetano called it a "cult behavior."

"'Yun 'yung kulto na kapag hindi ka kasama sa kanila, mali ka at sila parating tama," he said.

Cayetano said he is willing to work with his colleagues in the minority, adding Hontiveros will be invited to the CA’s caucuses. 

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