“Ultimately, whoever suggested the ouster, ang magde-decide pa rin ang members ng Kongreso (Ultimately, whoever suggested the ouster, members of the House decided on it),” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, also chief presidential legal adviser.
Boy Santos
Palace: 'Discontented lawmakers ousted Pantaleon Alvarez'
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Discontented lawmakers ousted Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez from his post as House speaker last July and not Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, an official of Malacañang yesterday said in a radio interview.

“Ultimately, whoever suggested the ouster, ang magde-decide pa rin ang members ng Kongreso (Ultimately, whoever suggested the ouster, members of the House decided on it),” said presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, also chief presidential legal adviser. 

“(They said) they were discontented with the way it is being run,” Panelo said.

Panelo backtracked a bit on the revelations of President Duterte that his daughter was behind the ouster of Alvarez as speaker.

Panelo said the final decision on Alvarez’s ouster was executed by a majority of his colleagues who lost confidence in his leadership, although there was persuasion from Sara.

But Panelo said the move made by Sara did not have an adverse impact on the relations between the executive and legislative branches of government.

On Oct. 18, the President spilled the beans on his daughter while he was telling businessmen how strong-willed she is – having punched a sheriff and ousted a speaker of the House.

Duterte said he was not privy to the change of leadership in the House until it was already executed by lawmakers who aligned with his daughter, who convinced former president and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to become speaker.

Meanwhile, Panelo said the executive department recognizes the help of Alvarez in pushing the priority measures of the administration even if he was ousted by his colleagues.

‘Marcos as role model’

Duterte and his daughter Sara share a common idol in the late martial law ruler Ferdinand Marcos, an opposition congressman said yesterday.          

“Now that the cat is out of the bag, there is no pretension that both father and daughter share the same strongman streak. Having the dictator Marcos as their idol makes them a tandem to be highly wary and worried about,” Akbayan’s Tom Villarin said. 

Villarin made the statement after the President admitted that Sara was behind the ouster of Alvarez, an ally of Duterte.

The Chief Executive said he learned of Sara’s “maneuver” from Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

“Ousted speaker Alvarez was but a pawn in their power game of chess. He played the part to the hilt trying to be promoted queen but was checkmated,” Villarin said.

However, he said Duterte should not have revealed that his information came from Puyat. 

“It was unnecessary though to drag the name of Secretary Puyat. It was a conversation held in confidence between the two women that should be respected. President Duterte should have exercised discretion over such privileged communication,” Villarin said.

Before Alvarez was replaced, he had a bitter feud with Sara. Aside from the President’s daughter, the billionaire financiers of Nacionalista Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition and National Unity Party reportedly gave their blessing to the Davao del Norte lawmaker’s ouster.

Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers said Duterte’s admission shows that “political dynasties and warring factions within the ruling elite are playing with government institutions.”

“In this case, the President’s daughter played with a house of Congress, a body co-equal to the presidency and which is supposed to serve as a check-and-balance on the President,” they said.  

“This power grab at the House of Representatives follows the book behind the ‘maneuver’ in the Supreme Court and the removal of progressives in the Cabinet such as former secretaries Judy Taguiwalo, Ka Paeng Mariano and Liza Maza,” they said.

They denounced the President’s warning, “Be careful with that woman.”

“We condemn this verbal warning as it is directed against progressives and critics who merely raise legitimate issues and demands. It also complements the physical threats presented by the military and police and legal attacks in the form of trumped-up charges,” they said.

Sara has called for the expulsion from Congress of those she described as “terrorists” and “terrorist sympathizers” after Tinio and Castro claimed that Davao City is the only big city in the country not giving a monthly allowance to public school teachers. – With Jess Diaz

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