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Speaker-mayor feud just a turf war, says solon

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 07:11 AM February 25, 2018

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin

Nothing but a power struggle over “turf and egos” between President Rodrigo Duterte’s lieutenants.

This was how opposition lawmaker and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin described on Saturday the ongoing feud between House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

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Villarin said he did not see any substantial change in the political landscape even if realignments were to take place at the House of Representatives as a result of the Speaker’s tiff with the President’s daughter.

Power

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“The feud between Mayor Sara and SPDA (Alvarez) is all about power that’s consuming both parties and fanning these intramurals among Duterte loyalists,” Villarin said in a statement.

On Friday, the younger Duterte did not discount the possibility of running for congresswoman and challenging Alvarez for the speakership.

 ‘Up in the air’

“Everything is still up in the air,” she was quoted as saying in response to questions on whether she would fight for control of the House.

She had earlier issued a number of scathing statements in public against Alvarez after the Speaker supposedly called her newly formed party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP), as part of the opposition as it was not sanctioned by the President.

The Davao mayor also alleged that the Speaker had boasted before a crowd that he, as House Speaker, could easily impeach Mr. Duterte.

Alvarez denied saying both statements, but declined to comment further on the younger Duterte’s tirades against him.

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“No comment na ako d’yan (I will no longer comment on that). Surrender,” Alvarez told reporters in Butuan City on Friday afternoon.

Villarin, a member of the “Magnificent Seven” opposition bloc, characterized the quarrel between the two officials as a tug-of-war over the President’s political capital.

Access and control

HNP and Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan are fighting not over “ideological nor program-related reasons,” the party-list representative said.  It’s all “about access to and control over state resources,” he added.

“If ever realignments happen in the House, it will happen not because of the political opposition but more over quarrel on turf and egos,” Villarin said.

But the status quo would not last long, he predicted.

“The Duterte supermajority in Congress is but a fleeting and temporary alignment that will implode when the light of truth pierces its veil and when democracy shines bright through the holding of regular elections,” Villarin said.

Threat

The younger Duterte first ranted against Alvarez on Thursday using her personal social media accounts to claim that Alvarez had threatened to impeach her father.  “He is President. I am Speaker. I can always impeach him!” the younger Duterte quoted Alvarez as saying.

“I have no problem with him. He has a problem with me,” the mayor said.

Alvarez said that the information Duterte had received about him was not true and that he was willing to settle the issue with the mayor.

Not friends

She had never considered Alvarez a friend, Duterte had responded.  “We’re not friends so there’s no need to reconcile as friends,” she said.

It was during the launch of Duterte’s HNP party on Friday that the Davao City mayor mentioned how Alvarez had supposedly described her as an opposition figure and her new party as a product of political dynasties.

The quote was confided to her by a mayor who had spoken to the Speaker, the younger Duterte said, without naming her source who was reportedly afraid of retribution from Alvarez. —With reports from Inquirer Research

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TAGS: Pantaleon Alvarez, Sara Duterte-Carpio, Tom Villarin, turf war
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