Alvarez cements ‘super majority’ in Congress
Incoming Davao Del Norte representative Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez, presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s pick for Speaker of the House of Representatives, has cemented a “super majority” of 260 of the estimated 290-strong House of Representatives.
This was the estimate of Global Port owner and newly-elected 1-Pacman Rep. Mikee Romero in his speech before the party-list bloc signed a coalition agreement with Alvarez on Tuesday.
Romero said when the elections was held on May 9, Duterte’s party the Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) only had three members, including Alvarez.
Now, the once small party ballooned with more members from the Liberal Party jumping ship on a daily basis, with the PDP-Laban welcoming 15 new members from the ruling Liberal Party.
Romero said he was among the congressmen who joined Alvarez at the launch of PDP-Laban for the May 9 polls.
Now three weeks after that, the party has grown to a potent force in Congress, with various coalition partners from major political parties such as the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the Nacionalista Party, the party-list bloc, the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrat, and even the administration Liberal Party.
“Just two weeks after that launch, Congressman Bebot Alvarez now enjoys more than three fourths of the House of Representatives or almost 260 of the 290 congressmen from that three congressmen on the 9th of May,” Romero said.
In an interview after the signing of coalition agreement, Alvarez said he has stopped counting how many allies he has, maintaining that what he was sure of was that he has 180 solons on his side.
Alvarez said he would rather that his allies leave the Liberal Party (LP) and jump ship to the PDP-Laban because he found it “awkward” that the LP are both members of the majority and minority.
The LP signed the coalition agreement to support Alvarez’s Speakership bid and the legislative agenda of Duterte, but outgoing Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., LP vice chair, requested that the members not leave the outgoing administration party.
Meanwhile, Belmonte as a losing Speaker candidate would become minority leader
“It’s a bit awkward na mayroong minority na Liberal Party at saka mayroon ring majority (It’s a bit awkward that there are LP members who are members of both the minority and the majority)… I would prefer those who wanted to join the majority will either join the PDP-Laban and other political parties in coalition with PDP Laban in the majority,” Alvarez said.
He clarified that he was not requiring them to leave the LP.
“I am just inviting them. I’m only expressing my view that it would be best if they join the PDP Laban,” Alvarez said. IDL