The Palace on Friday downplayed President Rodrigo Duterte’s admission that his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio “initiated” the ouster of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said even if Duterte-Carpio initiated the ouster, the fate of Alvarez’s speakership were decided by the members of the House of Representatives.
“Ultimately whoever suggested the ouster, the members of Congress shall still decide. Those who voted [for Alvarez’s ouster] said they were discontented with the way it is being run,” Panelo said in a radio interview.
“It’s the House of Representatives that decided regardless of whoever initiated it,” Panelo added.
He said even with the influence of the President, members of the House of Representatives still had the final say on whether to oust or let Alvarez remain based on his performance as a speaker.
He said that lawmakers appeared to be dissatisfied with how Alvarez ran Congress.
“Rightly or wrongly, that’s the perception of those who voted against him. But as far as the administration is concerned, Speaker Alvarez did all things in favor of the administration. The bills which have been certified as urgent, he passed it through,” Panelo said, recognizing how Alvarez shepherded bills that were important to the administration.
On Thursday, Duterte admitted it was his equally fierce daughter who worked in the shadows to oust Alvarez.
“Be careful with that woman. She can even oust a Speaker. She operated in Davao. Look what happened in Congress,” the President said in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo.
This was the first time Duterte confirmed that his daughter played a role in unseating Alvarez as Speaker.
Alvarez was ousted as Speaker as Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in July. He was replaced with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Duterte said he only learned of his daughter’s political maneuver through Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
He said that his daughter admitted her role in the ouster as when she bumped into Puyat at the restroom of the Batasang Pambansa during the third State of the Nation Address.
“She was told by Inday. They saw each other in the washroom. ‘Tell my father, I’m sorry.’ So, I did not know the implication of that. I have no [idea]... honest to God. It was Inday, she maneuvered it,” Duterte said, referring to his daughter by her nickname.
In February, Duterte-Carpio called Alvarez an “insecure fat sleaze” for allegedly linking her to the opposition after the Davao City Mayor formed a separate regional political party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
Alvarez had since denied the allegation.
Duterte-Carpio is seeking reelection as Davao City mayor, while Alvarez also wants to stay in Congress in the 2019 midterm polls.