Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
By Junex Doronio
EVEN IN POLITICS ‘WALANG FOREVER’ so it seems as long-time presidential ally former Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Sunday quit the ruling party PDP-Laban amid unconfirmed rumors that he is also eyeing the presidency in 2022.
“Representative Alvarez resigned from the party because he intends to commit to and pursue a voter’s education campaign for Filipinos given the importance of the 2022 elections. Unfortunately, serving as a ranking officer and member of PDP-Laban while simultaneously handling this advocacy majy be misconstrued by critics as politicking by the party presently in power,” Alvarez’s camp said in a statement on Sunday, November 15.
The former House leader was ousted in 2018 believed to be maneuvered by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
In apparent retaliation, all local candidates of Duterte-Carpio lost in Davao del Norte, Alvarez’s bailiwick, in 2019 mid-term elections.
Worth noting was Alvarez getting critical of the administration when last September, he blasted President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s pandemic response as “really a failure.”
The representative of Davao del Norte’s 1st district, who served as PDP-Laban secretary-general “for almost half a decade,” said he was resigning from Duterte’s party PDP-Laban to focus on a voter’s education campaign.
By joining the Reporma party of former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, Alvarez said he intends to revive a “non-mainstream” political party.
“Given these events, Representative Alvarez also accepted the offer of former secretary Renato de Villa to lead (as chairman) and revive Reporma, a non-mainstream party not affiliated with any personality reportedly seeking the presidency. This way, the voter’s education campaign can proceed, and rightly be perceived, as politically neutral without risking possible backlash against PDP-Laban,” his office statement added.
When he was House Speaker, Alvarez used to be a “DDS” (Diehard Duterte Supporter), steadfast in his defense of Duterte, from the administration’s anti-drug campaign to its move to revive the death penalty.
A reliable source close to the former House speaker said Alvarez has two options for 2022: To run for mayor in Tagum City, Davao del Norte or run for President of the Philippines.
Alvarez could not be reached for comment. (ia)