A newspaper’s headline on the Alan vs Allan rivalry in Congress caught extra attention. Here’s why.

March 6, 2020 - 11:29 AM
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Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano's alleged coup attempt
Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano via Facebook

Amid the alleged coup attempt in the House of Representatives, a story’s headline caught the attention of local social media because of its witty take on the situation.

Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano’s longtime rivalry against Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco, whom he has a term-sharing deal with, got rekindled after the Cayetano alleged that the Velasco’s camp have attempted to oust him from the speakership role.

Cayetano and Velasco’s rivalry began when President Rodrigo Duterte offered the division of speakership terms to them in July 2019.

Based on the agreement, Cayetano would serve as a speaker for the first 15 months while Velasco is set to take the post for the remaining 21 months. This means that Cayetano would have to step down by October.

Of the news organizations that reported the supposed ouster plot, the Daily Tribune’s report stood out on social media.

They wrote the headline “Coup’ pals in House drama” in the story published on March 3. It was written by Keith A. Calayag.

Some Filipinos poked fun at the headline, citing that it was a pun on the Filipino insult “kupal” and that it referred to Cayetano and Velasco’s rivalry.

“Funny that the headline has double meaning: ‘Coup’ pals in House drama and ‘Kupals’ in House drama,” a Twitter user said.

“Ang witty ng headline,” a Reddit user said.

Ang witty ng headline from Philippines

Others, meanwhile, criticized the issue of the supposed ouster plot amid pressing congressional issues.

The lower chamber is being pressured to tackle the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, which is set to expire on May 4, and the passage of the national budget for 2020.

“So drama lang niya lahat-lahat?” Independent writer Katrina Stuart Santiago tweeted.

The article features Buhay Partylist Rep. Lito Atienza‘s view on the issue. He said that Cayetano might be the one orchestrating the speakership coup plot himself hoping that this will lead the chamber into having an election which would favor him.

“Speaker Cayetano is orchestrating a drama. He will be calling for the positions to be declared vacant, because he wants elections to be held and not honor an agreement he had entered into with Congressman Velasco,” Atienza was quoted in the report as saying.

What’s happening in the Lower House?

According to Cayetano, some 20 House representatives told him that Velasco promised them “pork” allocations and parked funds which the Lower House previously removed from the budget.

Cayetano made this claims during a chance interview with reporters after the a Congressional session.

He then asked lawmakers supporting or siding with the Marinduque solon to leave their committees if they do not agree with his leadership.

“Ang advice ko na sa mga nasa leadership na mga committee chairman na hindi makapaghintay, if you cannot cooperate with the present leadership, umalis muna kayo sa committees niyo, bumalik na lang kayo kapag Speaker na si Congressman Velasco. But habang ako ang Speaker…wag niyong gagamitin ang budget, wag niyong gagamiting ang ABS-CBN issue, wag niyong gagamitin ang chairmanship dahil nadidisrupt ang Kongreso,” Cayetano said.

Velasco and the ruling party Partido Demokratiko-Lakas ng Bayan, which the lawmaker is also the leader of, denied these claims.

On February 29, Cayetano shared his sentiments on the alleged ouster plot to his supporters on his official Facebook page.

“I believe most members of Congress see and appreciate the reforms I stand for. If they do, then I will continue to serve as their Speaker. If they don’t, then they can remove me, I will continue to serve as the Representative of Taguig and Pateros. I will continue the lonely fight with whoever will join me,” part of his post read.

I believe in what I believe. I will not be transactional. I will not sacrifice my principles and this administration’s…

Posted by Alan Peter Cayetano on Saturday, February 29, 2020

Last Monday, Davao City Rep. Isidro Ungab and Oriental Mindoro Rep. Salvador “Doy” Leachon, both allies of Velasco, were removed from their key positions.

Ungab was replaced with ACT-CIS Rep. Eric Go Yap while Leachon with Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo.

Duterte, meanwhile, said he would keep his hands off on the coming House leadership change, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.