President Rodrigo Duterte will not intervene in any move to oust Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez as Speaker of the House of Representaitves.
“If that’s really the wish of the House members, the President will respect it,” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque.
If Alvarez is deposed, Duterte will support his successor, also said Roque.
The President is “willing and able” to work with anyone who will replace Alvarez, Roque added.
Roque made the statement as rumors continue to swirl in the halls of Congress about Alvarez, who represents the 1stDistrict of Davao del Norte, being replaced by former President now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Persistent rumors say of a leadership change at the House on or before the July 24 State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the President.
Roque said the possible election of a new Speaker would be up to the members of the House.
“The House organization is really dependent on members of the House of Representatives and the President is willing and able to work with anyone,” Roque said.
Roque said the President would not intervene in any leadership change, even if the House is dominated by allies of Duterte.
“In the end, it’s the House members who will determine who their House leaders will be,” he added.
Roque said what is important was for any House Speaker to support the President’s legislative agenda.
Reports earlier surfaced that Arroyo wanted to get Alvarez’s position.
Aside from Arroyo, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Jay Velasco, son of Supreme Court Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr., had also been rumored as interested to be Alvarez’s successor.
Being kicked out as Speaker would not be the only debacle in store for Alvarez. His reelection bid in the mid-term election in 2019 is facing storm in Davao del Norte.
The rumors of Alvarez’s ouster gained momentum early this year after a verbal joust with presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Duterte-Carpio called Alvarez an “asshole” and vowed to campaign against his reelection after the Speaker called her newly-formed regional party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), as part of the opposition and without approval of the President.
Reports said that HNP is positioning former governor Rodolfo del Rosario, father of Governor Anthony del Rosario, to challenge Alvarez in 2019.
Another major roadblock to Alvarez’s reelection is the Del Rosario-Floirendo political machinery, which has joined the HNP.
The Del Rosario-Floirendo clan has been a dominant influence in Davao del Norte politics for decades.
Alvarez, on the other hand, had been dismissed as politically dead after losing two previous bids for the 1stDistrict congressional races. He was reportedly bankrolled by the clan in the 2016 election to win his current post.
But Alvarez has estranged himself from his long time friend, political ally and benefactor, 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo, Jr.
Alvarez has filed a graft rap against Floirendo in the Ombudsman in connection with a land deal between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) covering the reservation area of the Davao Penal Colony (JVA).
He has also initiated a House inquiry on the legality of the BuCor-Tadeco Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) covering over 5,000 hectares of Dapecol land that the Floirendo-owned company developed into a banana plantation.
This early, Alvarez, secretary general of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan *PDP/Laban), has formed his own bloc called “PDP-Laban Alvarez Wing” that would field a slate against candidates of Duterte-Carpio’s HNP in the 2019 election.