Palace downplays Mayor Sara’s role in Alvarez’s ouster
Malacañang on Friday downplayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, was behind the ouster of former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo pointed out that the House of Representatives had the final word on Alvarez’s fate, even if it were true that the President’s daughter wielded influence.
“It’s not like that. Ultimately, whoever suggested the ouster, it will still be the members of the House who will decide on it,” Panelo said in a radio interview on Friday.
But he said he had heard of the misgivings some lawmakers had on Alvarez’s leadership that eventually led to the return to power of former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker.
“We heard those who voted, saying they were discontented with the way [the House] was being run,” Panelo said.
The President on Thursday admitted that his eldest daughter “maneuvered” the removal of Alvarez from office in July.
Speaking at the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo at the Manila Hotel, Mr. Duterte described his daughter as an “operator.”
‘Be careful of her’
“Be careful of that woman: She can oust even a Speaker. She operated in Davao,” he said. “This is a woman. She operated in Davao as mayor, look at what happened in Congress. [Alvarez] got removed.”
It was the first time the President confirmed his daughter’s role in the removal of Alvarez, his political ally.
Arroyo was installed Speaker on the day Mr. Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address in July.
The former Speaker had earlier angered the mayor over his speech to supporters in which he supposedly said he had the power to impeach the President. Alvarez has vehemently denied making the statement.
The younger Duterte has neither confirmed nor denied her role in Alvarez’s ouster.
But the President brushed off his exchange with Alvarez as friendly banter.
“Bebot (Alvarez) is a close friend of mine; I will support him. But maybe, when he said, ‘I can also impeach him,’ referring to me, for us it means nothing. Why would you impeach me, we’re friends,” Mr. Duterte said.
His daughter apparently did not take it lightly.
“She’s my child. When she heard that, ‘Why would you do that to my father?’ And before I knew it…,” Mr. Duterte said.
The President said he learned of his daughter’s role in Alvarez’s ouster through Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
“Inday (Sara) and her maneuvers. If she put one over me, she might launch a coup d’etat or a junta. I might be left outside,” Mr. Duterte jested.
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