Alan Peter Cayetano

Cayetano asks prexy bets to unite vs COVID

November 4, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 130 views

FORMER Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano has reiterated that he will remain an independent candidate for senator even as he urged presidential aspirants to unite on platforms that will help the country move past the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

“I’m happy being an independent, and I think it will give me the ability to talk to all the presidentiables who are willing to talk,” Cayetano said told reporters at the sidelines of the handover of a copy of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act by President Rodrigo Duterte to representatives of coconut farmers in Lucena City, Quezon recently.

Cayetano, who was Duterte’s running mate in 2016, said the symbolic handover of the law — which establishes a trust fund for the development of the coconut industry from Marcos-era coco levy assets to stakeholders is a campaign promise fulfilled.

“It’s more sentimental, because we made a promise to coconut farmers together dito sa Quezon… So ayun lang, I mean, there’s no conflict in being a statesman and being a politician ‘di ba, dapat nababalanse din,” Cayetano said.

The former Speaker clarified that he was at the handover ceremony not as an endorsement of the Duterte administration but to support the government’s efforts in fulfilling its promises to various sectors.

“First and foremost, it’s our campaign promise of Duterte-Cayetano to farmers, coco farmers, secondly I was the principal author in the House. So I’m here to support that,” he said.

“My presence here doesn’t mean I agree with everything that’s happening with the administration, but hindi din dapat mawala dun sa mga mabubuting kailangan gawin at tapusin,” he added.

Despite this, Cayetano maintained that he was not making overtures to President Duterte or the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) party, which split into two factions in the weeks prior to the period for filing of candidacies for national posts.

“I haven’t talked politics with the president. I don’t expect that chance now. But I’m happy to run as an independent,” he said.

Cayetano pointed out that the Duterte administration still has time to cement a positive legacy in its last few months in power — a period he called the “last two minutes.”

“At di ba tayong mga Pilipino, mahilig tayo sa basketball e, so yung last two minutes napaka-importante. Ang daming projects na pwedeng tapusin in the ‘last two minutes,’” he said.

“Ang makikinabang naman dito ay hindi yung mga pulitiko, hindi ang administrasyon, kundi ang taumbayan. So when I’m needed, I’ll be there, and when we can forward good legislation and good programs,” he added.