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WANTS 2019 POLLS POSTPONED
House of Representatives Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Wednesday it would be more “practical” to postpone the 2019 midterm elections to pave the way for the transition to a federal form of government.
But in his home province of Davao del Norte, there is a different reason why the Speaker, who represents the first congressional district, wants next year’s election postponed: Alvarez’s reelection is facing doom.
Alvarez has estranged himself from politicians who bankrolled his campaign in the 2016 election to raise him up from his political grave of two previous electoral defeats.
Presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has also vowed to personally campaign against Alvarez’s reelection for calling her newly-formed regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago an “opposition party.”
He has filed a graft complaint against 2nd District Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo with the Ombudsman and has instigated a House inquiry into a land deal between the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) and the Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco), the giant banana company owned by the family of Floirendo.
The Floirendos and Tadeco are widely credited for their economic contribution to the province, and Alvarez’s has drawn severe criticism from all sectors in the province.
Floirendo also happens to be one of the major contributors to the presidential campaign of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Alvarez has also waged a propaganda war against Governor Anthony “AGR” del Rosario, Floirendo’s cousin, and is putting up his own candidate to contest the governor’s reelection.
The administration party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan (PDP/Laban), of which Alvarez is secretary general, is suffering from hemorrhage in the massive exodus by members to Duterte-Carpio’s HNP, that was organized by the presidential daughter with the governors of the Davao Region.
Observers say that with Alvarez picking a fight with Duterte-Carpio, Floirendo, Tadeco and del Rosario, the Speaker would end up as an inconsequential dot in the Davao del Norte political landscape after the dust of the 2019 election would have settled down.
SOTTO: NO TO NO-EL
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In pushing for the postponement of next year’s polls, said aside from Charter change, the House would have its hands full with other activities, such as the budget deliberations, the filing of Certificates of Candidacy in October, the campaign period in February next year, and the scheduled interruptions of congressional operations, including Halloween and Christmas breaks.
“Papaano tayo magka-quorum dito? Syempre magkakampanya na yung mgacongressmen election yan eh, survival. (How will we reach quorum here? Of course, congressmen will be busy campaigning by then since it would be election period. [It’s] survival),” Alvarez said in a news conference.
“Paano natin gagawin ang proposal to revise the Constitution? Kung gusto nating matapos yan, para sakin, yun ang dapat pag-aralan na mabuti ang timetable (How would we be able to make the proposal to revise the Constitution? If we want to finish that, we should carefully consider the timetable),” he added.
Alvarez said Congress must double its efforts and focus on its move to amend the Charter.
“Kung gugustuhin talaga na matapos ito, kasi kailangan mo ng focus dyan eh. Hindi pwedeng basta-basta na lang (If we really want to finish this [Charter change] we have to focus on it and not overlook it)” he added.
Alvarez formally received the draft federal Constitution prepared by the 22-member Consultative Committee, which was handed to him personally by former Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
The Speaker said the lower chamber will start studying the draft federal charter. (PNA)
QUO VADIS BOTBOT?
A few Jetmatic manual pumps, a few low-power generating sets, a few kilometers of road gravelling projects, a tall promise of multi-million pesos in projects for every barangay captain, credit grabbing of the billion-peso Tagum City fly-over project of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the satellite mini-hospital of the Department of Health (DoH) and the free-irrigation program of President Rodrigo Duterte; credit grabbing of TESDA skills training program and medical assistance to indigents by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Department (DSWD).
Add to that Davao del Norte’s infamy for having hosted the most lavish, expensive and longest birthday celebration by a government official.
Add to that a Napoleonic hallucination that he is the political kingpin of Davao del Norte.
Add to that the Quixotic battle, in the guise of an anti-corruption campaign, to destroy a five-decade old company that helped Davao del Norte become what it is today.
Can these so-called achievements claimed as accomplished in less than two years save a politician from political ignominy?
Will they be enough for a member of the House of Representatives like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who represents the First District of Davao del Norte, to be assured of reelection in the 2019 polls?
As a politician infected with the bragging disease locally known as “botbot,” Alvarez has no choice but to blow his horns to get attention. And the votes.
Never mind if people refer to a Congressman Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez as “Congressman Botbot,” or to a Speaker Alvarez as “Loudspeaker Alvarez,” Alvarez has no choice but to brag or promise heaven and do a lot of crazy things.
He has to create situations to be noticed, because Alvarez to most people is an ant, an inconsequential dot in the social, economic and political landscape in Davao del Norte.
He is getting attention, alright, but the kind you expect a politician seeking reelection to dread and hate. But Alvarez does not care.
He is widely talked about with laughter in impromptu joke sessions for his poor attempt to ape President Rodrigo Duterte’s language, grit and brawn.
Behind his back, people gleefully count days when he would be ousted as Speaker.
Even Satan could be laughing, waiting for him, with the Catholic Church confident he would go to hell for his authorship of the divorce bill.
Women despise him for breaking up with his legal wife and bragging he has seven girlfriends.
Even his party mates in the ruling PDP-Laban, of which he is the secretary general, accuse Alvarez of allowing entry of narco-politicians into the party of the President. The war on drugs happens to be President Duterte’s flagship program.
The Alvarez name has become a byword less as Speaker but more as somebody who throws his weight around.
He is getting much attention and derision in his battle against the banana company Tagum Agricultural Development Company (Tadeco), owned by the family of Davao del Norte Second District Congressman Tonyboy Floirendo, his erstwhile friend and political supporter.
By taking on Tadeco and Floirendo, Alvarez is committing political hara-kiri, and his fate is already written in the doomsday wall in so far as 2019 is concerned.
Tadeco and Tonyboy are considered as institutions in Davao del Norte for their long years of involvement in local politics and the economic development of the province. Unlike Alvarez, the people of Davao del Norte values gratitude.
Tadeco since the 60s from the time of its founder, the late industrialist Don Antonio Floirendo, Sr., played key role in the political and economic life of Davao del Norte by providing employment, paying large amount of tax and generating livelihood and business opportunities related to its banana business.
Tadeco, the country’s largest producer and exporter of Cavendish bananas also placed the Philippines, and Davao del Norte, in the map of the world’s banana capitals.
Congressman Floirendo is continuing the Tadeco legacy of service to the people and government and the over-all welfare of the province.
Aside from doling out jetmatic pumps and cheap generating sets, what has Alvarez done for Davao del Norte as Speaker of the House of Representatives?
Alvarez’s over-zealous fanaticism to destroy Tadeco and his former friend Tonyboy has taken a more dangerous direction as he now also wants to destroy the whole banana industry.
Recently Alvarez’s chief of staff, apparently beguiled by his boss being the No. 4 most powerful man in the country, led a team that destroyed bio-security measures at the entrance to the Tadeco plantation thus opening up entry of the deadly Panama Disease into the farm.
Perennial loser in previous elections, Alvarez was saved from a permanent entombment in a political grave by the financial support of Tonyboy in his run for Congress in the 2016 elections.
Snake in the grass is what people call people who bite the arm of their benefactors.
Alvarez has questioned a Congress-approved agreement between Tadeco and the Bureau of Corrections involving the penal reservation of Dapecol. Tadeco developed the once barren reservation area into a banana plantation that provided thousands of jobs and millions of pesos in taxes and share in the produce for government; and gave the company a key role in the penal rehabilitation program by hiring inmates as workers in the banana farm.