“The spirit of unity is not conformity.”
These were the words of former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in a media interview on Tuesday and how he sees himself working with the next administration.
Cayetano said while he is for cooperation and unity especially after a particularly divisive campaign period, this does not mean one should follow blindly.
“Ibig sabihin, mulat dapat tayo sa lahat ng ating papasukin. Dapat open ang lahat sa suggestions,” he said.
The former Speaker said that should he return to the Senate, he will cooperate with the next President if it is for the good of Filipinos but will not hesitate to speak up if he sees something wrong.
“I was in the same situation in 2010… Naging Minority Leader ako. Pero ‘pag tama (ang ruling party) sinuportahan ko, ‘pag mali I didn’t just criticize, I gave alternatives,” he said.
Cayetano, who is currently at seventh spot in the senatorial race according to the partial and unofficial results from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), said he plans to play the same role in his Senate comeback.
“Wherever I’m needed, I’ll help. ‘Pag tama, either I’ll be quiet or I’ll help. Pero kapag may mali, maaasahan ng ating mga kababayan [na tututol ako],” he said.
Cayetano cited his strong opposition to e-sabong which had the support of most members of Congress and which President Rodrigo Duterte, whom he supports, himself initially did not ban.
“Consciously kahit marami sa inyo na kaibigan ko sa media sinasabing tigilan ko nang magsalita about e-sabong dahil bilyon-bilyon ang nandyan at mangangampanya against me, may mga nagsabi rin na magsalita ako in favor of sinong malalakas na kandidato,” he said.
It was only a week before the May 9 elections that the President announced that all e-sabong operations would stop.
Cayetano cited Lee Kuan Yew, a statesman who served as Prime Minister of Singapore between 1959 and 1990, as an example of working with a variety of leaders but not tolerating wrongdoing even among his friends.
“He was in a coalition, y’ung iba d’un revolutionary, y’ung iba d’on best friend n’ya pero nangorap, kinulong nya,” he said.
“So kung ganoon ang takbo, they’ll have a supporter in me. Pero kung ang takbo ay paatras or pasama, [they will not],” he added.