SEN. Alan Peter Cayetano has slowly inched back into the limelight after he fell silent for several weeks, earning him the moniker “Quietano.” He surfaced in the Senate probe into the bribery case involving Chinese casino tycoon Jack Lam. And he is vociferous again in defending the policies of the Duterte administration. I find this rather interesting.
Cayetano was President Rodrigo Duterte’s running mate in the May elections. But I don’t think Duterte, who ran under the PDP-Laban headed by Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, really wanted to pair with him considering that Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., a family friend, was also running for vice president. But the senator was aggressive in inserting himself into the Duterte camp.
This was observable during the campaign. When candidate Duterte visited Ilocos Norte, the bailiwick of the Marcoses, Cayetano got lost in the passing. In a way, Duterte had two running mates, one official and the other unofficial. This partly contributed to his eventual victory. In the count, Marcos almost won as vice president, losing to Leni Robredo of the Liberal Party by only a slim margin. Cayetano was far behind.
Cayetano is a talker and he used that to aggressively promote candidate Duterte’s program of government, even the questionable ones like ending the illegal drugs trade and criminality in only three months. The man is intelligent but during the campaign he attempted to make some claims that bordered on stupidity sound logical. I once admired the man but the elections unmasked him. He was willing to sell his soul just to become vice president.
One advantage Cayetano had over other vice presidential bets who were not senators is that he retained his post even if he lost in the elections. He was still senator and tried to use his having been Duterte’s running mate to snag the post of Senate President. Again, he failed, obviously because of his show of utter subservience to his boss. Pimentel got the post instead.
After that loss, Cayetano suddenly became the “Quietano” that his critics described him. But in December, the President mentioned the promise he made to give Cabinet posts to Cayetano and Marcos after the one-year ban on the appointment to government posts of politicians who ran in the previous elections expires, which would be in June this year. Cayetano was promised the foreign affairs post replacing Perfecto Yasay. Marcos was promised the tourism portfolio.
Could this be the reason Cayetano is no longer “Quietano”? Or is it just mere coincidence that he started speaking out this month after the President made the assurance in December?
The prospect of having Cayetano and Marcos in the Duterte Cabinet is interesting. This could be partly the reason also why Vice President Robredo was eased out from the Cabinet. How would a Cabinet look with Robredo, whose win Marcos is protesting, joining Marcos and another loser in Cayetano? By the way, wouldn’t it be unfortunate for us to have the dictator’s son in the Cabinet?