MANILA – The decision of former Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to resign from the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) was his personal decision, Malacañang said Monday.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque echoed Alvarez’s decision to step down as the PDP-Laban Secretary-General to “commit and pursue voter’s education campaign.”
“Personal na desisyon iyan ni Congressman Alvarez at ang naintindihan ko naman, tumawag siya sa akin kahapon, ang dahilan daw ay dahil mag-i-engage siya sa voter’s education ‘no na baka hindi niya magagawa kung siya po ay kasapi ng administration party (That Congressman Alvarez’s personal decision and I understand it, he called me yesterday, and his reason is he wanted to engage in voter’s education which he might not be able to do if he is still a member of the administration party),” he said.
Roque made no further comments, and instead wished him well in his next undertaking.
“Iyon lang po ang sinabi niya sa akin at sa panig naman ng Malacañang (That’s all he told me and on behalf of Malacañang), we wish him well,” he added.
Alvarez served as the Secretary-General of PDP-Laban, President Rodrigo Duterte’s party, for almost half a decade.
On Sunday, Alvarez said he resigned because “serving as a ranking officer and member of PDP-Laban while simultaneously handling this advocacy may be misconstrued by critics as politicking by the Party presently in power.”
He explained that he accepted the offer 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,” he said in a statement.
Alvarez thanked PDP-Laban President Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, for allowing him to serve as the Secretary-General of PDP-Laban.
He expressed appreciation for the party’s efforts in bringing to the attention of the nation the importance of empowering local governments as a prerequisite for a strong republic and its support during the 2016 and 2019 elections.
“The party’s assistance for those campaigns that led to historic electoral victories cannot be understated,” he said.
Alvarez previously served as Speaker of the House during the first and second regular sessions of the 17th Congress from 2016 to 2018.
He was removed from his position in a coup d’etat staged by House members on the day of Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address in July 2018, and replaced by former president and then-Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. (PNA)