President Rodrigo Duterte will be “in good hands” at the Senate, incoming Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said.
“The President is in good hands at the present Senate,” Cayetano told reporters in a briefing in Cambodia on Wednesday night, May 10.
Cayetano’s assurance came as his absence in the upper chamber was seen as one staunch supporter less for the President.
But the senator, who ran as Duterte’s vice president but lost during the May 2016 elections, said the chief executive would have the support of the senators even without him in the chamber.
“The majority of the Senate, including the minority ‘no, has now a call committed to constructive engagement with the administration,” he said.
“You know si Senator Koko, iba lang ang kanyang style. Tapos si Majority Leader Sotto, pagdating naman sa actual work, of course nandiyan…I mean sa legislative work, si Sen. Migz was dating majority leader,” he said.
(You know Senator Koko, he just has a different style. And then there is Majority Leader Sotto, who is always there when it comes to actual work . . . I mean in legislative work, Sen. Migz was former majority leader.)
Sen Koko is Senate President Aquilino Pentel III; Sen. Sotto is Vicente Sotto III; Sen. Migz is Juan Miguel Zubiri.
He also mentioned Senators Manny Pacquiao, Richard Gordon, Joel Villanueva and Sherwin Gatchalian.
Cayetano said he could not take his oath of office until confirmed by the Commission on Appointments.
“The nomination has been signed but I cannot take the office and oath until confirmed by the Commission in Appointments,” he said.
Cayetano explained the challenge that lies ahead with his new post.
“I really hope that I can contribute. We have the best people in the DFA but suddenly we’re relevant around the world. Suddenly, the Philippines, hindi siya isang speck na napkaliit lang na player sa world affairs,” he said.
“So actually the bigger challenge for me now is if politicians like microphones, diplomats should not engage in microphone diplomacy. Kasi iba ‘yung nag-iimplement ka ng strategy, iba ‘yung nagki-criticize or nag-aano ka ‘no. So that’s a bigger challenge for me,” he added.
(Because it’s different to implement strategy, it’s different when you criticize . . .)