Alvarez wins support of Northern bloc in Congress
Incoming Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, the presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s pick for Speaker, got the support of some 22 lawmakers from the Northern bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
However, of the 32 members in the 36-strong “Northern Alliance” who attended the meeting, only 22 lawmakers signed the manifesto of support for the Speaker bid of Alvarez and the legislative agenda of Duterte.
The lawmakers said they support Duterte’s eight-point economic agenda and his program to curb criminality to ensure peace and order in the country.
“We are confident in the leadership of President Duterte and incoming Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and the new administration’s programs for espousing long lasting peace and order and its eight point economic agenda aimed at further enhancing our nation’s economic growth,” the lawmakers said in the manifesto of support.
The manifesto said despite the different political affiliations, the lawmakers said “we have the interest of the country foremost in our legislative agenda to support and promote the administration’s policies and program of government.”
Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, the widow of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, led the lawmakers who signed the manifesto of support for Duterte and Alvarez.
The comebacking and neophyte lawmakers who signed the manifesto of support are: Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano, Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson, Bulacan Rep. Linabelle Ruth-Villarica, Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Farinas, Isabela Rep. Ana Cristina Go, Quirino Rep. Dakila Cua, Benguet Rep. Ronald Cosalan, Cagayan Rep. Randolph Ting, Pangasinan Rep. Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil, Cagayan Rep. Baby Aline Alfonso, Antipolo city Rep. Romeo Acop, Mountain Province Rep. Maximo Dalog, Anac-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Isabela Rep. Napoleon Dy, Abono Rep. Conrad Estrella III, Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano, Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher De Venecia (son of outgoing Rep. Gina De Venecia), La Union Rep. Sandra Eriguel, and Pangasinan Rep. Rosemarie “Baby” Arenas.
In an interview, Singson, the president of the alliance, said the bloc would push for its parochial concerns in the region such as irrigation, agriculture and tourism.
Singson was also among the lawmakers who took their oath after the meeting to jump ship to Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) from the Liberal Party.
The others who also changed parties were Arenas and Bernos from the Liberal Party. Alvarez himself administered the oath.
Singson said although it pains him to leave the outgoing administration’s party, he said he had to do it so that he can be a member of the majority to pursue the concerns of his constituents.
“It pains us to leave the party but we had to. In this kind of situation, there is a new president who overwhelmingly won, for us as a representative of the district we have to think of our constituents,” Singson said.
“It’s better for us to be with the majority, with the administration, for us to voice our concerns. Of course if you’re in the minority, what you do is complain lang (just complain),” he added. RAM