Change in House leadership likely won't push through, Paolo Duterte ally says
This image shows the east entrance of the main building of the House of Representatives.
Change in House leadership likely won't push through, Paolo Duterte ally says
Franco Luna ( - September 21, 2020 - 4:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — A change in leadership at the House of Representatives leadership hinted at on Sunday may not actually push through, a close ally of Rep. Paolo Duterte (Davao City, 1st District), who made the hints, disclosed on Monday. 

This comes after Rep. Duterte, House deputy speaker, admitted Sunday to sending a Viber message threatening to call for the removal of House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano from his post after a number of lawmakers reached out to him and hinted at possible misgivings with the leadership of Cayetano, a close ally and former running mate of no less than President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Speaking in separate interviews aired over ANC and CNN Philippines, Rep. Eric Yap (ACT-CIS Party-list), who chairs the House appropriations panel, said: "I have a strong feeling that no coup will happen [because] there is no problem with his leadership...whatever congressmen say, we'll try to address that."

"This is just my opinion but I have a 99.99% feeling that Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will stay as our speaker [and] the ouster will not push through...The way I see it, that is not going to happen at all this afternoon," he also said in Filipino. 

The lower chamber's internal squabbles center around the budget allocations for their respective districts as the House Committee on Appropriation's deliberates the P4.5-trillion National Expenditure Program for 2021, the basis for the national budget bill. 

According to Yap, the lower chamber would not want to hamper the budget's passage regardless of any misgivings. 

He added that most of the lawmaker's frustrations stemmed from their shares in the 2021 budget under the Department of Public Works and Highways.

"If the speakership and deputy speakership posts are declared vacant at this time, somebody will have to take over, and there will be chaos. The budget could be delayed, and the people will suffer...the budget is not made by Congress. It's the DPWH that identifies it and we only submit it to the [budget management department.]"

According to reports, the presidential son's earlier Viber message to other lawmakers read in Filipino: "I already told you, I am just keeping silent because the Speaker’s camp isn’t speaking to me anymore, and now I am suddenly dragged into this. I will ask the Mindanao Bloc to declare the seat of Speaker and Deputy Speakers vacant this Monday."

In 2018, the House of Representatives went through a similar change in leadership when former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took the reins as House Speaker ahead of President Duterte's third State of the Nation Address.

Franco Luna with reports from News5

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