MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Tuesday, March 28, that he's ready to lose the House leadership in pursuit of his work.
Alvarez made the statement in an interview with Rappler on Tuesday, March 28, after he filed a resolution seeking a congressional inquiry into an alleged lopsided government deal with a company owned by Davao del Norte 2nd District Representative Antonio Floirendo Jr.
Alvarez filed House Resolution (HR) Number 867 on March 13 questioning the alleged anomalous joint venture agreement between Floirendo's Tagum Agricultural Development Corporation (Tadeco) entered into with the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor).
On the same day, Alvarez also filed a graft complaint against Floirendo before the Office of the Ombudsman for having an unconstitutional "business interest" while serving as an elected official.
The Speaker made the move amid rumors that Floirendo – President Rodrigo Duterte's biggest campaign contributor – was plotting to unseat him and replace him with Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
To this, Alvarez said in a phone interview: “Wala akong problema diyan. ‘Yung mga nag-i-isip na mag-unseat sa akin, go ahead, make my day (I don’t have a problem with that. To those thinking of unseating me, go ahead, make my day)."
Alvarez moved to oust Arroyo, former president, as deputy speaker along with 11 other committee chairpersons after they voted against the death penalty bill. (READ: Death penalty bill fallout: Alvarez says Arroyo to be replaced as deputy speaker)
Alvarez denied that the ouster rumors prodded him to seek the congressional inquiry into the Tadeco deal.
“Alam mo, binibigyan nila ng slant ‘yan na ‘di maganda (You know, they're putting a negative slant on that). But we have to be objective about it. Kung ganyan lang, you know, kung gusto nila ‘yung speakership (If that's how it is, if they want the speakership), I’m just doing this for the country,” Alvarez said.
“I have no problem with that kasi in the first place, wala akong ambition (I have no problem with that because in the first place, I don’t have any ambition). I can always risk the speakership anytime,” he added.
During his first weeks as Speaker, Alvarez told Rappler that he was not even supposed to run in the 2016 elections, and was only forced to do so “out of frustration” because Duterte, his longtime friend and political ally, did not initially want to run for office. (READ: Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s lieutenant at the House) – Rappler.com