Cayetano family shows up in Malacañang as Speakership row escalates

Jauhn Etienne Villaruel, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2020 05:22 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2020 10:11 PM

MANILA — Several members of the Cayetano family led by embattled House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano showed up in Malacañang on Wednesday night just hours after an escalation of the Speakership row unfolded at the House of Representatives. 

Duterte met late Wednesday with the incumbent Speaker, his wife Taguig Rep. Lani, sister Sen. Pia Cayetano, and Deputy House Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva, said Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque in a press briefing Thursday. 

According to Roque, what was scheduled last night was a meeting between Villanueva and Duterte for a "pray over."

It was not immediately clear how the Cayetanos figured in the said gathering. 

"Nagkataon lang naman po na ang pangyayari sa Kamara kahapon ay nangyari sa scheduled meeting sa panig ni Deputy Speaker Eddie [Villanueva] at Presidente," Roque said.

(It just so happened that what happened yesterday at the House of Representatives coincided with the scheduled meeting later in the day between Deputy Speaker Eddie and the President.)

The House Speaker on Wednesday afternoon delivered a scathing privilege speech against Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, with whom he has a term-sharing deal for the chamber's leadership throughout the duration of the 18th Congress.

Under the "gentleman's agreement" brokered by Duterte last year, Cayetano was to hand over the reins of the House to Velasco after 15 months, which counts to October this year. Velasco, then, will serve for the remaining 21 months.

In his speech, Cayetano described Velasco as eager but unready to occupy the chamber's top post. 

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Cayetano then "offered" to resign, a move readily rejected by his colleagues.

Velasco, who sought for the enforcement of the agreement, described the events at the House of Representatives on Wednesday as "theatrics."

Duterte, according to Roque, said the leadership row in the House is an "internal matter."

Cayetano was Duterte's running mate in 2016, but lost to Vice President Leni Robredo. He was later appointed as Secretary of the Foreign Affairs, but gave up the post so he could run as congressman of Taguig-Pateros.