You’ve got to hand it to Speaker Lord Velasco.
The Marinduque congressman has been able to parlay his shallow connections to President Rodrigo Duterte into the third highest post in his administration.
Velasco is by no means a long-time supporter or ally of Duterte, a Politiko source said Velasco and his wife, Wen, only met the former Davao City mayor in the middle of the presidential campaign in March 2016. Velasco has closer ties with Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, a fellow abogado who also shared his passion for big bikes.
Former Speaker Alan Cayetano, the running mate of Duterte, pointed out that Velasco was originally a supporter of Senator Grace Poe who was the leading presidential bet in 2016.
“One month before the election, punong-puno pa bahay mo (Velasco) ng Grace Poe eh, di ba? Alam naman natin role ng family nila sa Grace Poe case eh,” said Cayetano in a privilege speech on his term-sharing agreement with Velasco last September 30.
Cayetano was referring to Velasco’s father, former Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, who was among the nine Supreme court magistrates who voted in March 2016 to junk the disqualification case filed against Poe.
Based on their Facebook posts, Velasco and his wife made their first posts supporting Duterte on April 23 (Wen) and May 1 (Velasco) or just weeks before election day when the Duterte juggernaut was already well on its way to Malacanang. After having zero posts about Duterte in the months leading to the election, Velasco and his wife flooded their respective timelines with pictures with Duterte and effusive praise for their newfound alily.
Cayetano said Velasco’s wife was the most active in making sure that her husband become Speaker which explained why Wen went out of her way to get close to Duterte after his victory.
Cayetano noted that Velasco was like the hundreds of “balimbing” congressmen who jumped to Duterte’s Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) in July 2016. “Dalaw ot talo lang naman si (PDP-Laban) noong nanalo kami, most of the PDP-Laban weren’t there when I was the party mate of the President,” said Cayetano in a previous interview with ANC’s Karen Davila, Cayetano.