THREE lawmakers on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s reaffirmation of support for Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was expected, being Malacañang’s pointman of its legislative agenda.
Reps. Rodolfo Albano III of Isabela, Winston Castelo of Quezon City and Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro acknowledged Alvarez’s stewardship in passing Duterte’s priority measures, such as death penalty, tax reform law and national budget, the martial law extension and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao until the end of the year, and even the finding of a probable cause to impach Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Alvarez won the respect of his peers “because of his brilliance and judicious stewarsship of the affairs of the House,” Albano, majority leader for the House of Representatives’ contingent to the Commission on Appointments, said.
Albano also played down the rumored ouster plot against Alvarez, saying it was “a non issue.”
“Speaker Alvarez is a long time and honored friend of [President Rodrigo Duterte]. And the President values loyalty,” Albano said.
Umali said said Duterte had seen Alvarez as a hardworking and no-nonsense leader in instituting reforms and discipline among members of the House of Representatives.
“I never doubted that President Duterte through Secretary [Harry]Roque would reaffirm support to Speaker Alvarez being his most trusted and long-time ally,” said Umali, chairman of the House committee on justice which voted Thursday to find probable cause impeaching Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
Castelo, for his part, described Alvarez as “the cornerstone of Malacañang’s legislative agenda.”
“He [Alvarez] delivers effectively and promptly because he commands the respect and support of almost all factions in the House. He is indispensable in bringing the campaign promise of the President into reality,” Castelo, chairperson of the House committee on Metro Manila development, said.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque earlier appealed for a stop to sowing intrigue on Alvarez’s leadership, saying the Speaker was the most trusted and long-time ally of Duterte.
Earlier, Alvarez shrugged off the reported ouster plot against him even as he declared he still had the support of the House majority coalition led by the PDP-Laban where he is the secretary general.
Alvarez made his comment on reports that former president turned Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would replace him.
Just recently, Alvarez had a misunderstanding with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio for allegedly calling the President’s daughter, “part of the opposition” for founding a local party Hugpong ng Pagbabago in Davao. Alvarez denied this.
The young Duterte teamed up with politicians who had been eased out of PDP-Laban which include four of five provincial governors in Davao Region — Antonio Rafael del Rosario of Davao del Norte, Claude Bautista of Davao Occidental, Nelson Dayanghirang of Davao Oriental and Jayvee Tyron Uy of Compostela Valley.
Alvarez denied there were ongoing talks for Arroyo to replace him.
Last December, Alvarez’s rating rose from neutral to moderate in the latest December 8 to 16 Social Weather Stations survey where he earned +14 or 6 percent points higher than his +8 rating last September.
Also last December, the House of Representatives obtained a net satisfaction rating of +43 in the SWS survey which was conducted from December 8 to 16, 2017 among government institutions. The Senate got +56 net satisfaction rating.
The +43 net satisfaction rating received by the House of Representatives is +9 higher than its rating obtained last September and the highest since 1988.