The promise of Davao del Norte First District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to financially support candidates under his Alvarez Wing in the 2019 mid-term election may all be hot air.
The Alvarez Wing is a political machinery organized by Alvarez inside the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Laban (PDP/Laban) that will carry his reelection bid in next year’s polls. Alvarez is secretary general of PDP/Laban, the party that President Rodrigo Duterte rode in capturing the presidency in the 2016 election.
Has PDP/Laban the money for Alvarez?
In the coming election, PDP/Laban has no money to fund its candidates because of money problems, said Duterte, the party’s national chairman.
Before he was ousted in a coup in July as House Speaker by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo, Alvarez had told supporters funds from the PDP/Laban would bankroll the campaign of the Alvarez Wing.
But Alvarez cannot expect a flow of funding from PDP/Laban.
This is because PDP/Laban is a cash-trapped party with an empty campaign kitty, according to Duterte.
What is the advice of Duterte to politicians who want to join PDP/Laban?
“Coalesce with PDP-Laban but stay with your mother unit,” Duterte on Friday, August 17, told over 6,000 new members of Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), at the convention in Davao City of the regional political party founded by his daughter Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte.
Duterte said he has high respects for the PDP/Laban as a “principled” party, but money woes had dogged its growth.
PDP/Laban is a principled party but never grew because of lack of money, he said.
So my advice is you may coalesce with PDP/Laban but stay with your mother party, Duterte told the large crowd who took their oath as members of HNP.
Duterte however said he was open to supporting candidates who seek his help.
“If you want me to campaign for you, I will. No problem. But money? You can go to your original party….. Let’s just have a coalition, Duterte said.
Duterte’s announcement of a financially-troubled PDP/Laban was expected to have catastrophic impact on Alvarez’s reelection and that of candidates under his Alvarez Wing.
Alvarez earlier had vowed party and financial support for his candidates who will be up against the slate of the HNP that Mayor Duterte organized with governors of the Davao Region.
On top of the money woes due to PDP/Laban’s empty campaign chest, Alvarez’s reelection is already in dire straits leading to a total debacle in the coming polls. This early, observers say Alvarez’s politics is on the throes of dying.
Mayor Duterte has called Alvarez as an “asshole” and vowed to personally campaign against his reelection after Alvarez called HNP as an “opposition party.”
Reports said Mayor Duterte played key role in the political misfortune of Alvarez, by lobbying with House members to oust the then Speaker.
Alvarez has also created an enemy among the who-is-who in Davao del Norte politics, the likes of former political allies and benefactors Second District Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr. and Governor Anthony del Rosario.
Alvarez after being installed as Speaker in July in 2016, hounded Floirendo with a graft case in connection with the Floirendo-owned Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco) and its land deal with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) over the Davao Penal Colony (Dapecol) reservation area.
The Alvarez Wing is also fielding a candidate against the reelection of Gov. del Rosario.
Duterte’s advice for politicians to coalesce with PDP/Laban may be politically out of synch.
Once the ruling party, PDP/Laban has been reduced to a minority party in the House, as members fled to join other parties after Alvarez was ousted as Speaker.
Even his leadership in PDP/Laban is in trouble with a bloc of original members calling for his ouster as secretary general.
Mayor Duterte’s HNP, on the other hand, has been growing in membership and support.
Although it is only a regional political party, three national parties and six political groups have forged alliance agreements with HNP.