Where will the ex-Speaker get the fund?
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao del Norte officials promised huge development funds by First District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez when he was the Speaker of the House of Representatives, will be holding a bag of false hopes.
Alvarez has been reduced to a minority member of the House after he was replaced as Speaker by former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a July 23 coup.
As perks and benefits go in Congress, Alvarez, as a minority member of the House, will no longer have access to congressional funds to be able to deliver on his promise to Davao del Norte officials.
Before his ouster, Alvarez had lured support from local officials with promises of millions of development funds, a move aimed at shoring up his reelection bid in the 2019 mid-term election.
But his broken promises may not be the only stumbling block that could derail his reelection bid. Alvarez has cultivated an array of political foes during his short stint as Speaker.
In his province, Alvarez has waged a war against top political leaders, including Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. and Governor Anthony del Rosario.
He also had collided head-on with presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte-Carpio, who has vowed to campaign against his reelection in 2019.
Duterte-Carpio and Floirendo were said to have played a role in the ouster of Alvarez, who is also facing trouble in the once ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan (PDP/Laban), of which he is secretary general. The PDP/Laban has been reduced to a minority party in the House following Alvarez’s ouster, as party men jumped ship to join other parties that formed a coalition to forge majority rule.
Recently, a disgruntled bloc inside PDP/Laban held an election during a party national assembly and replaced Alvarez as secretary-general and Senator Koko Pimental as chairman.
Forced by political misfortune, Alvarez has now pitched camp with a motley group of minority legislators.
Alvarez and his allies at the House have elected ABS partylist Rep. Eugene de Vera as their minority leader.
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, an ally of Alvarez, said their group, composed of 13 members, have “unanimously elected” de Vera as the new minority leader.
The members include: de Vera, Alvarez, Fariñas, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, Leyte Rep. Lucy Gomez, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, LPGMA partylist Rep. Arnel Ty, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Aileen Radaza, Compostela Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Makati City Rep. Manuel Monsour Del Rosario III, and Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr.
The issue on the composition of the House minority and its leadership, however, has still to be resolved as there are three groups claiming to represent the minority.
The three factions are: Alvarez’ allies; the Liberal Party-Makabayan bloc led by Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo; and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez’ group.
The Surez group is seeking to retain its minority status despite the fact that 14 of its 17 members voted for Arroyo as Speaker.
Fariñas has warned the current leadership that he will bring the minority issue before the Supreme Court if it will insist on Suarez as the minority leader.
Fariñas earlier said de Vera is the “acting minority leader” after most of Suarez’ bloc “abandoned” the minority by voting for Arroyo.
According to House rules, the minority bloc will be comprised of congressmen who did not vote for the elected Speaker.
The rules also state that members who voted for the winning candidate automatically become part of the majority. (with PNA report)