Alvarez eyes coalition with Makabayan bloc
Incoming Davao Del Norte Rep. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Friday said he is eyeing more coalitions, which would even include the militant Makabayan bloc, to prop up his bid for Speaker.
In an interview after the signing of a coalition agreement with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC), the choice for Speaker of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte said he has talked with the Makabayan bloc hoping that it would align with the majority under the Duterte administration.
“Alliance lang with the majority. Wala (namang) terms (It’s just an alliance with the majority. There are no terms),” Alvarez said.
In the 16th Congress, the Makabayan bloc, which is composed of militant party-lists Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Anakpawis and Alliance of Concerned Teachers, is part of the minority which did not vote for incumbent Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. of the Liberal Party.
Now, Alvarez of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) said he wanted the militant bloc to vote for him as Speaker to thwart Belmonte’s reelection.
Alvarez said he is also seeking the alliance of the National Unity Party, after securing the support of other major parties such as the NPC, the Nacionalista, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat and even the party-list coalition (which does not include the militant party-lists).
In a statement, Makabayan coalition president Satur Ocampo confirmed that the bloc met with Alvarez Friday morning for a possible coalition to push for Duterte’s legislative agenda.
Some of Duterte’s legislative plans include reinstating the capital punishment and revising the 1987 Constitution to pave the way for a federal form of government.
“The Makabayan bloc met with Rep Pantaleon ‘Bebot’ Alvarez this morning to explore probable areas of cooperation as regards President-elect Duterte’s legislative agenda,” Ocampo said.
He added that Alvarez is in the “process of cobbling a majority coalition in the House, which may include the Makabayan bloc.”
“No definite terms have been agreed on yet, as the situation remains in flux,” Ocampo said.
Alvarez made the offer to the Makabayan group after Duterte also offered Cabinet posts to the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Already, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate is reportedly being eyed as Department of Environment and Natural Resources secretary. RAM/rga
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