Issue of October 18, 2020
     
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I goofed

In my Oct. 4 column “Honor among thieves,” I wrote: “I am betting a cup of coffee that the circus will continue with the clowns in power and Lord Allan will never get to be Speaker.”

I goofed because the Lord prevailed over Peter and now sits in his throne at the Lower House. So, anyone coming for 3-in-1 coffee, let me know.

The Cayetanos – Sen. Pia Cayetano, former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano, and Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano, and even Allan’s wife Lani who represents another district in Taguig – trace their rise in politics from their late father, Atty. Renato Cayetano, host of the TV show “Compañero y Compañera” shown on ABS-CBN, which ironically, had its franchise “killed” by legislators led by then Speaker Allan.

Their father was a founding partner of CASELAW (Cayetano, Sebastian, Dado and Cruz Law Office), which handled many sensational cases like the Pepsi Paloma rape case (with respondents Tito, Vic and Joey of “Eat Bulaga”); the “take it, take it” Manila Filmfest scandal representing the late mayor Alfredo Lim; former columnist Luis Beltran who was acquitted in the libel case filed against him by then President Corazon Aquino, prosecuted the Vizconde Massacre case with a conviction in the regional trial court but acquittal of Hubert Webb in the Supreme Court. He was FVR’s presidential legal counsel before he became senator.

Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, on the other hand, finished Law at the University of Sto. Tomas, served as chief of staff of his father, Ret. Associate Justice Presbitero, now governor, provincial administrator to Gov. Bong Carreon. He ran and lost to the daughter of my batchmate Rep. Carmencita Reyes but on petition before the SC, won and then proceeded to join the new breed of young leaders in Congress.

Velasco was supposed to start his term of 21 months on Oct. 14 but Cayetano scuttled the “gentlemen’s agreement” by offering his resignation in September before a select group of 25 peers and “muting” all those against – shrewd veteran moves to subvert the House rules.

In basketball, they term that as “gulang.” It was, in effect, a call for a vote of confidence in reverse. And he got it claiming 205 votes in his favor. Then he realized that they rejected his resignation because it was not yet the 14th and so wanting so much to celebrate his birthday on the 29th as Speaker, he adjourned the sessions until Nov. 16, reportedly giving each solon a whopping P2 million each pabaon and dared Lord to show his numbers, not in the peso kind.

The other contender showered the honorables with P1M “pasalubong.” So, our honorables in 10 days, earned them a hefty sum.Makes me think of going back to Congress na.

Purging and stripping off chairmanships of those allied with the Lord proved to be one of Peter’s biggest mistakes.

And so, it goes that Rep. Lord was elected in an informal session outside the Batasang Pambansa at the Celebrity Sports Plaza on a Monday – as the new Speaker of the House.

Cayetano was correct that the “session” was unlawful as there was no resolution authorizing the same. The better term for the organizers should have been “an all-party caucus.”

This was ratified Tuesday morning but not before Cayetano padlocked the doors of the session halls to prevent the 186 or more to enter the plenary halls. Going overboard, he even asked his “kakampi” to run away with the official House mace, a symbol of authority but such childish antic. The forced opening of the doors signaled the end of his Speakership and suddenly the wannabe President was doomed and became irrelevant in Philippine politics.

When he realized the ratification, he went on Facebook Live to announce his irrevocable resignation by way of saving grace but there was no post to resign from as he was just ousted.

The moral of the story – other than honesty, honor is a virtue we should not afford to lose. Unfortunately, the people have decided, he no longer has it. Sigh.

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