Alvarez denies calling Sara Duterte part of opposition

MANILA, Philippines – House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday, February 22, denied allegations that he called Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, part of the political opposition.

"Wala talaga akong sinabing ganyan. Hindi ko alam kung saan nanggaling 'yung kuwento na iyan, pero wala akong sinasabi na part of opposition.... Paano magiging part ng opposition, administration nga siya? Baka mali lang 'yung... mayroon lang nagsabi na mali siguro. Ok lang 'yun, walang problema," said Alvarez in a press conference.

(I really never said that. I don't know where that story came from, but I never said she was part of the opposition.... How would she be part of the opposition, when she's part of the administration? Maybe she was mistaken... somebody said something wrong, maybe. It's okay, no problem.)

The controversy comes as Duterte-Carpio prepares to launch regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) on Friday, February 23.

In an interview with media on Thursday, Alvarez said he was "okay" with the formation of the regional party. When asked if it weren't odd that Duterte-Carpio and HNP are not part of the ruling PDP-Laban, Alvarez reasoned out that in politics, sometimes even family members find each other on opposing sides.

But going back to the creation of the HNP, Alvarez again said he saw no problem with its formation.

Duterte-Carpio, in a series of posts on Thursday, said "somebody should tell [President Duterte] what [Alvarez] is doing."

In another Facebook post on the same day, she said: "Ang sabi mo in a crowd, ‘President iba siya, Speaker ako (You told the crowd, 'He's the President, I'm the Speaker), I can always impeach him!' And you call me opposition? Somebody should tell the President about the truth. Antay ka bukas (Just wait tomorrow, I have another story)."

The Davao City mayor also suggested that House members unseat Alvarez, who leads the Duterte-affiliated "supermajority."

In another statement as HNP chairperson, Duterte-Carpio said the President gave his blessings for the party.

She also claimed that Alvarez was "panicking" over the creation of the new regional party, which counts Alvarez's friend-turned-foe, Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr, as a supporter. – Rappler.com