The House of Representatives officially appointed Taguig City Representative Alan Peter Cayetano as the House’s 22nd Speaker.
Cayetano beat fellow nominee Manila 6th District Representative Benny Abante Jr. with a 266 vote, who received 28 votes.
Two lawmakers abstained and one did not vote.
Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte, Marinduce Representative Lord Allan Velasco and Leyte Representative Lord Allan Velasco nominated Cayetano as speaker. Iloilo Representative Janet Garin and the party-list of AKO BICOL Representative Alfredo Garbin nominated Abante.
After a long and tight race, Cayetano’s election went to the speakership, with eight contestants competing for the place at one moment.
Among them were Velasco, Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez, Pampanga Representative Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales, Davao Del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez, and Davao City 1st District Representative Paolo Duterte.
Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Carlos Zarate and Davao City 3rd District Isidro Ungab were also nominated by their respective blocs. But the edge of Cayetano over the others was President Rodrigo Duterte, who supported the lawmaker as his bet for the speakership.
Duterte stated that Cayetano would share the place with Velasco, and that Romualdez would instead hold the position of majority management.
Critics, however, gave the thumbs down to Duterte’s approval, stating his action compromised the House’s independence as the government’s co-equal and autonomous branch.
Cayetano first served as a representative of Taguig City’s first district from 1998 to 2007. He ran senator and won in the 2007 elections. He was a senator for 10 years before Duterte appointed him as Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 2017.
Cayetano was also Duterte’s running mate in the 2016 elections, but to Vice President Leni Robredo.