SPEAKER Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez has admitted that he cannot defend party-list lawmakers who face the fate of becoming casualties in the proposed Charter change (Cha-cha) in light of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s continued discontent with the party-list system.
Alvarez, secretary general of the ruling Partido Demokratikong Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), said he is President Duterte’s trusted lieutenant in the House of Representatives and cannot go against his wish to scrap the party-list system that he thinks has been “bastardized” by rich and powerful party-list representatives.
“Of course I cannot go against the President,” said Alvarez with the continued displeasure of President Duterte to party-list system, the latest was when he alleged that some party-list groups have links to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the fund they receive from the government only goes to the New People's Army (NPA).
Despite this, Alvarez recognized the huge positive contribution of party-list lawmakers in making the House of Representatives a productive institution.
“But in fairness also to the party-list representatives they have been very religious in attending sessions, committee hearings, doing the work of a congressman, let’s give it to them,” Alvarez stressed.
Earlier, the Party-List Coalition (PLC), which is part of Alvarez’s supermajority coalition, held an urgent caucus to discuss the Speaker’s advice to avoid being confrontational with the Chief Executive.
House senior Deputy Majority Leader and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna and 1-Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta urged his colleagues to show to President Duterte that party-list lawmakers are also his partners for reforms and proponents of genuine change in the country.