Cayetano flies to Duterte country to announce bid
“I am running for Vice President of the Republic of the Philippines. I am putting my faith in God and in our people.”
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano made the statement on Tuesday as he publicly declared his political plans for next year’s elections.
“I do not know who else will make a declaration, but I have made a decision, it’s not easy to come by. But regardless who will be my running mate, I will offer myself to the people,” the 44-year-old senator said in a news conference in Davao City.
Cayetano is the son of the late senator Renato Cayetano, who initially shot to fame in the early 1980s for acting as private prosecutor in the infamous Pepsi Paloma rape case, which had noontime show hosts Joey de Leon, Vic Sotto and Richie D’Horsie as respondents.
His wife, Maria Laarni Lopez Cayetano, is currently the mayor of Taguig City (Metro Manila). His siblings also hold elective positions. Elder sister, Pia, is also a senator of the Republic while his younger brother Lino is the congressional representative of the 2nd district of Taguig.
Cayetano became a town councilor of Taguig at 21 and ran and won as vice mayor of the same town at 24. He was proclaimed winner in the vice mayoral contest only 10 days before his three-year term of office was due to end. At 27, he became congressman of Taguig and initially won a Senate seat in 2007 when he was 36 years old.
Cayetano’s decision to seek the vice presidency will set him in a collision course with fellow Nacionalista Party members Senators Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Antonio Trillanes 4th.
His announcement came a day after Pulse Asia released the results of its presidential and vice presidential survey for the 3rd quarter, which shows Senator Grace Poe leading in both positions.
Cayetano placed 4th in the vice presidential survey with 9 percent. He trails behind Marcos who got 13 percent.
He is reportedly being considered by the Liberal Party (LP) to become the running mate of standard-bearer, Manuel Roxas 2nd (See related story).
Cayetano said he has personally spoken to President Benigno Aquino 3rd prior to his announcement.
The senator said he was able to assure the President during that meeting that like him, he is also against corruption and for government reform.
They were also able to discuss the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) issue and was able to explain to the President his position and principle on the issue.
“For the record, I will not sacrifice my principles for politics or for any position in government, nor did the President ask me to do so,” he said.
Marcos, meanwhile, said Cayetano’s announcement does not anymore surprise him.
He added that the NP had expected him to make a formal declaration.
“That is already second time or third time that he has declared to run for Vice President so it is not exactly a surprise,” Marcos said.
When asked if Cayetano’s decision to choose Davao City in announcing his plans in 2016 is an indication that Mayor Rodrigo Duterte already picked him as running mate, he replied that he sees no connection.
“I don’t think that the fact that he [Cayetano] declared in Davao means anything in terms of his being the running mate of Mayor Duterte,” Marcos said, adding that the Davao City chief executive already said he is not running.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel 3rd, president of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), in a separate interview said the announcement of Cayetano will have no effect on Duterte’s decision.
“Senator Alan’s announcement in Davao will not influence the decision of Mayor Duterte whether to run or not,” said Pimentel, who remains hopeful for Duterte to change his mind and agree to run in 2016.
Cayetano will have dinner with Duterte on Tuesday night, according to Lito Banayo, the mayor’s political adviser.
Budget Secretary Butch Abad, however, said it is a 100 -percent indication that Duterte and the senator have already come to terms and sealed a deal for a 2016 run.
Trillanes said Cayetano’s decision to seek the vice presidency has no effect on his political plans in 2016 and that he will pursue his vice presidential bid as an independent candidate.
Trillanes was the first candidate who expressed his intention to run for Vice President and he plans to do it with or without the support of the NP.
He expects the party to remain neutral and will just allow the member of the party to choose who among them to support.
“As announced by Sen. Manny Villar during our NP meeting, if two or more party members are running for the same position, the NP would declare a ‘zona libre’ [free zone]or whether the party members would be left to decide whom to support,” Trillanes said.
Cayetano said he sees himself in the role of an “agenda-setter, of a fiscalizer, of a drum-beater” to whoever will be elected President in 2016.
“Simple lang nakikita ko po eh. Kailangan ng tunay na pagbabago ang ating bansa. There are a lot of good people who are running, pero kaya ba nila ‘yung transformation, ‘yung pagbabago na kailangan ng ating bansa [It’s simple. Our country needs real change. There are a lot of good people who are running, but can they handle transformation, the change that our country needs]?” he noted.
Cayetano hinted dissatisfaction with the current crop of presidential hopefuls, saying it does not give the voting public much of a choice.
“You always say we get the leaders we deserve. But the choices are important. So [if we don’t come up with more choices], we will be left with only the choices that we have been seeing,” he said.
Meanwhile, Emily Padilla, core member of the Mayor Rodrigo Duterte National Executive Coordinating Committee that launched the Run Duterte Run and Duterte for President Caravan, welcomed Cayetano’s announcement that he will seek the vice presidential post next year.
Although Cayetano did not say who his presidential candidate will be, he made the announcement in Duterte’s bailiwick.
“[The committee] and PDP-Laban will support anyone of them who is advocating federalism and who believes in the principles, vision and platform of government of Mayor Duterte. The criteria will also cover those who wish to run for the Senate with Mayor Duterte as their President,” Padilla told The Manila Times.
With JOEL M. SY EGCO