DAVAO del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez was overwhelmingly elected as the new Speaker of the House of Representatives on Monday, ahead of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Alvarez got 251 votes after his party, the PDP-Laban, inked coalition agreements with the Nacionalista Party, the Nationalist People’s Coalition, the National Unity Party, Liberal Party (LP), and even the 47-strong party-list bloc.
The bigger story, however, was the unexpected victory of Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat in the race for House minority leader with eight votes, even after his party, the LP, had decided to join the PDP-Laban-led “Super Majority” bloc.
It was a frustrating day for Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez of the United Nationalist Alliance, who was the early frontrunner for the House minority-leader post. He fell one vote short of Baguilat’s eight votes.
Baguilat emerged as the alternative minority candidate since the LP, led by former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., decided two days before the opening of session that the erstwhile ruling party would be part of the majority bloc. LLANESCA T. PANTI