Ethics panel finishes hearing complaints vs Alvarez

Ethics panel finishes hearing complaints vs Alvarez

/ 12:30 AM May 21, 2024

Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez  —Inquirer photo/Lyn Rillon

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives’ committee on ethics and privileges has finished hearing the complaints against former speaker and now Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, regarding his alleged seditious remarks uttered in a previous rally.

During a press briefing on Monday afternoon, committee vice chairperson and Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Raul Angelo Bongalon said that the panel will meet again on Tuesday to vote on the committee report which will contain the decision on Alvarez’s possible sanctions.


Bongalon said the committee report will then be forwarded to the House committee on rules, and they expect the matter to be part of the agenda for May 22’s session — possibly the last session day before a sine die adjournment on May 24.


READ: House ethics panel finds complaints vs Alvarez ‘sufficient in form’

“We had the committee meeting, wherein we are in the process of adjudication hearing wherein the complainant presented their witnesses, there were five presented by (Tagum City) Mayor (Ray) Uy, including himself, to prove the allegations he raised against Congressman Alvarez,” Bongalon told reporters at the Batasang Pambansa complex, adding that the former speaker’s camp did not present their evidence.

“So the only remaining issue is whether or not the acts being complained of amounts to disorderly behavior in violation of the code of conduct of the House of Representatives.  So in other words, the committee has terminated the reception of evidence on the complaint and the committee is set to meet again tomorrow for the deliberation of the committee report, to be rendered and presented tomorrow to the members of the committee on ethics,” he added.

‘Sufficient in form and content’

It was only last May 3 that Bongalon confirmed that the committee found the complaints against former Alvarez, to be sufficient in form and content. Bongalon said the complaints were filed for alleged habitual absences, statements against Davao del Norte officials and Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo, and supposedly seditious remarks during a rally.

READ: Año says Alvarez’s Marcos support withdrawal plea illegal, seditious

Members of the committee did not confirm it, but Alvarez recently stepped up his criticism of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s strategy on the West Philippine Sea issue, asking the President to resign if he would supposedly drag the Philippines into a conflict with China over the WPS.


Alvarez also urged members of the military to withdraw their support of Marcos, which defense officials believe was an act of sedition.

Last Thursday, committee chairperson and COOP NATCCO party-list Rep. Felimon Espares said that the habitual absence complaint was dismissed because the only evidence presented by complainants were based on a statement from a lawmaker, who supposedly asked Alvarez to show up to work.

Espares said that Alvarez was able to show a letter he wrote to House Secretary General Reginald Velasco regarding a request for remote work, to address concerns in his district.

According to Bongalon, the proceedings were quick because all sides cooperated with the committee in discussing the issues at hand.

“The beauty of this is that the parties are very cooperative in the sense that they also agreed that we have to expedite the proceedings, and that’s why we scheduled at least two session two days before this adjudicatory hearing,” he said.

“The proceedings were smooth because again, they are very cooperative in the sense that they wanted this to (be) expedited also, and have this issue be resolved as soon as possible,” he added.

Shook hands

Bongalon also revealed that Uy and Alvarez shook hands at the end of the hearing.

Last Thursday, Uy revealed that he and Alvarez were actually best of friends, noting that he filed the complaint because the former speaker’s statements were too much, and an abuse of the freedom of expression.

The former speaker made the call to cops and soldiers in a rally held in Tagum City last April, as he was dissatisfied with Marcos’ policies. His long-time ally, former president Rodrigo Duterte was also present at the event.

The statements from Alvarez and Duterte came after the Philippines participated in the first-ever trilateral summit with the United States (US) and Japan, where several measures for strengthened economic cooperation and steps to maintain a free and open Indo-Pacific region were discussed, on the backdrop of heightened tensions over the South China Sea.

No less than US President Joe Biden reiterated that any attack on Philippine aircraft, vessels, or military force in the South China Sea would trigger the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Philippines and the US.

Alvarez’ statements were met with disappointment from his colleagues in the House. Camiguin Rep. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo said that sedition raps should be filed quickly against Alvarez, so that such calls from the lawmaker would be addressed immediately.

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Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel and Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo separately warned Alvarez about the statements he made, saying that these appear to be unbecoming of a House of Representatives member.

TAGS: Pantaleon Alvarez

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