Former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez
Only weeks after leaving the ruling party and criticizing the government’s pandemic response, former House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez embarked on what he called a “voter education” advocacy and launched a movement to seek a true leader and not a pretender.
“We need a leader, a true leader, and not a pretender,” Alvarez said in his message during the launch of “We need a leader, 2022” movement in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, on Sunday.
Alvarez said voters should carefully weigh the qualifications of the president they want to elect on May 9, 2022, because the country has “big and serious problems.”
A president, the Davao del Norte representative said, “should not be numb” to the situation of poor Filipinos and should instead “feel their struggles and pains.”
“A president should have a word of honor. Someone who easily changes his mind and decides back and forth is not OK,” he said.
Alvarez’S remarks sparked off questions about the former speaker’s relationship with President Duterte, a longtime ally.
The 65-year-old Alvarez became speaker of the House of Representatives when Mr. Duterte assumed office in 2016 but was removed in a 2018 power struggle supposedly orchestrated by Mr. Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte.
After his ouster, Alvarez stayed out of the limelight until September when he criticized the government’s response to the pandemic in a television interview as “really a failure. The approach, the way it was handled, was a failure,” he said.
On Nov. 15, Alvarez resigned from the PDP-Laban to lead and revive the Partido para sa Demokratikong Reporma, founded by former military chief Renato de Villa. q q
Amending charter won’t present solution to pandemic, says Alvarez
MANILA, Philippines — Amending the Constitution will not present a solution to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Tuesday.
Alvarez made this remark as the House of Representatives is set to resume its debates on charter change (Cha-cha) on January 13. Lawmakers, however, have assured that the discussions will only focus on proposed amendments in the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
“Meron namang iba, sinasabing solusyon ito para doon sa pagbagsak ng ating ekonomiya. Sa palagay ko [dapat] pag-isipang mabuti ‘yan dahil para sa akin, wala akong nakikitang solusyon sa pag-amyenda ng Constitution,” the congressman from Davao del Norte said over ABS-CBN News Channel.
(Some say this will be a solution to the country’s economic problems, but I think it should be studied carefully because for me, I don’t see any solution in amending the Constitution.)
For Alvarez, discussing Cha-cha at this point will be ill-timed since the country is still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also said House leaders should carefully study the timing on amending the Constitution, considering the period for the filing of certificates for candidacy and the campaign for the upcoming elections in 2022.
“I am really thinking of it considering the time left. Remember, October this year will be the last day for filing of the certificates of candidacy tapos (and then) after that, congressmen, LGUs (local government units) will be very busy. They will start campaigning for the elections kaya medyo para sa akin hindi maganda ‘yung timing (that’s why for me, the timing is not good),” said Alvarez.
“Para sa akin, pag-aralang mabuti ang timing kasi talagang nasa problema tayo ngayon, ‘yung pandemic. Siguro I think we really have to focus muna dyan sa issue na ‘yan, ‘yung problema na ‘yan rather than going into amending the Constitution,” he added.
(For me, they should study the timing because we are in the middle of a pandemic. I think we have to focus on that problem instead of amending the Constitution.)
Alvarez explained that previously, he was supportive of “revising” the Constitution for a shift to a federal form of government as what was being pushed by the Duterte government.
“Noong umpisa ng administration gusto ko isulong ‘yung, it was not amending the Constitution, it was revising the Constitution, changing the form of government from unitary to a federal setup,” he said.
(At the start of the administration, I wanted to push for revising the Constitution, not amending it, to change the form of government from unitary to a federal setup.)
“Para sa akin kasi mas maganda ‘yun kaysa ‘yung just amending the economic provisions. We really have to overhaul the entire Constitution, for me, but it is too late to do that now kasi kailangan pag-usapan mabuti yan eh, dumaan sa debates,” he added.
(For me that is better instead of just amending the economic provisions. For me, we really have to overhaul the entire Constitution, but it is too late to do that now because it has to be studied carefully and debated well.)
Malacañang earlier dismissed as rumor claims that the latest push for Cha-cha is meant to extend the term of government officials, including President Rodrigo Duterte.