SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte will not be ousted from his post anytime soon, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro of Capiz said.
Castro, a member of the National Unity Party (NUP) which is a part of the “Super Majority” coalition in the House, made the statement amid lingering rumors that former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo would take over the speakership.
Talk about an Arroyo speakership began when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office, and eventually died down.
The rumors surfaced anew amid a feud between Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, and Alvarez that erupted on social media last month.
The mayor claims Alvarez had been bragging among local leaders that he could impeach Duterte in his capacity as speaker of the House. Alvarez has denied the mayor’s allegations.
“I don’t think these rumors are true. The speaker has a good relationship with the members of the House. Based on the body language of our members, I don’t see an attempt or threat of a coup against the speaker. I can’t be convinced of these rumors because I have not seen or heard authentic moves of such,” Castro, also the NUP president, said in a radio interview.
“In fact, I was waiting for someone to talk to me about it so that I would know the truth. But nobody has approached me thus far. And as NUP president, I don’t think somebody will talk to our members without going through me,” Castro, whose NUP has 21 members in the House, added.
Congresswoman Arroyo is a member of the ruling party PDP-Laban which is in a coalition with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party and even the Liberal Party, aside from NUP.
“There’s nobody who can replace the speaker from our ranks, and we won’t engage with that because we have [long]decided that we are a part of the majority. We won’t think ill of our colleagues,” Castro said.
“Besides, I don’t see any reason why the speaker must be replaced. The speaker says his opinion, and all House members have the same right to [say]what they feel,” he added.
Representatives Rodito Albano of Isabela and Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro, both members of PDP-Laban, echoed Castro’s sentiments.
“Those rumors are rehashed,” Albano, a member of the Commission on Appointments, said in a statement.
Umali said: “I don’t doubt that President Duterte would reaffirm support to Speaker Alvarez being his most trusted and long-time ally.”