Alvarez dared: Name names in bribery claim
MANILA, Philippines — A member of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has challenged former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to reveal details of the alleged payoffs being offered to lawmakers by candidates for the next Speaker in exchange for their votes.
At a press briefing on Tuesday, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said Alvarez should shed light on his allegations that the aspirants were offering P500,000 to P1 million for each lawmaker’s vote.
“This is a serious matter that’s truly alarming, [and] which should be looked into and not dismissed as a joke or as part of standard practice. Congressman Alvarez owes it to the public to tell the truth,” he said.
While Tinio confirmed that some candidates for the speakership have sought meetings with the Makabayan bloc, these were not about the offer of a bribe or any consideration, but merely a discussion of the aspirants’ legislative agenda.
“We have heard similar stories in the past, but these were not of the same amount. The amounts being mentioned this time are really staggering,” said Tinio, speaking for his militant colleagues.
Opposition leader and Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman also dared Alvarez to disclose details of his allegations.
“Congessman Alvarez should name names; otherwise he is just demeaning the House,” Lagman said.
He said that ever since he joined the 8th Congress, he had never been given, or even offered, money or any consideration by any aspirant for the speakership in exchange for his vote.
Because of his allegations, Alvarez appears to have given up his bid for the speakership, Lagman said.
“He must be talking from experience. He is running amok,” he added.
Sought for comment, Alvarez said he was sure the candidates he was referring to would not admit to making the bribe offer.
“Of course, no one will admit it,” he said in a text message.
Alvarez said he would not join the supposed “money race” among the speakership aspirants.
“Definitely not, as it will only compromise our position. I’d rather not get [the speakership if I do the same],” he said.
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