Sara Duterte’s role in the House’s ouster of Pantaleon Alvarez

October 22, 2018 - 10:41 AM
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio doing a fist bump during the oath-taking of the Hugpong ng Pagbabago's new members at Malita, Davao Occidental. (The STAR/Boy Santos)

President Rodrigo Duterte finally admitted that his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, had a hand in the ousting of former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.

The chief executive in a speech during the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo on Thursday said, “Talagang ano ‘yan si Inday, so be careful with that woman.”

“She can oust even a speaker, she operated in Davao. This is a female. She operated in Davao as mayor. Look at what happened in Congress, (Alvarez) was ousted,” Duterte said as a warning to his political rivals.

He added that Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat had a chance encounter with his daughter in the women’s restroom during the third State of the Nation Address.

“Sinabi daw ni Inday — nagkita sila sa washroom — ‘Tell my father, I’m sorry.’ So I did not know the implication of that. Wala akong… honest to God. Si Inday, ‘yon, minaneuver niya,” Duterte narrated.

However, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo was quick to frame Duterte’s statement, insisting that the House members themselves made the final decision on Alvarez’s removal.

“Ultimately whoever suggested the ouster, ang magde-decide pa rin ang members ng Kongreso. ‘Di ba narinig natin iyong mga bumoto, sinasabi nila they were discontented with the way it is being run,” he said.

Nevertheless, Duterte’s remark did not fall on deaf ears on social media.

Alvarez was suddenly booted out of his position as a House speaker prior to the opening of the Congress’ third regular session on July 24. He was replaced by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

‘Kapal ng mukha mo’ 

Duterte-Carpio’s tiff with Alvarez goes back to when the latter supposedly accused the Davao City mayor of being part of the opposition when she created a regional political party that is different from her father’s in February, the Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Four of its members are alleged to have a falling out with Alvarez, a stalwart of the ruling PDP-Laban political party.

The former House speaker’s accusation caused Duterte-Carpio to release vitriol-filled Instagram posts about him. “Somebody should tell the president what you are doing. How dare you call me part of the opposition,” she wrote on Instagram.

The Davao City mayor also slammed Alvarez for supposedly saying that he could “impeach” the president, although she didn’t provide any context. Alvarez denied that he made such statements.

“I never said that. I don’t know where these insinuations came from. How could she be a part of the opposition when she belongs to the administration,” he said in Filipino.

According to Duterte-Carpio, she had the blessings of her father when she created her own regional political party.

“I would like everyone to know, including the Speaker of the House, that the unity I forged with the 4 governors of Region XI has the blessings of President Rodrigo Duterte,” she said in a statement.

“Even the use of the word Hugpong as the name of our regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago has the President’s approval,” Duterte-Carpio added.

One month after, the Davao City mayor accused Alvarez of bullying her because she is a woman.

“He treats me poorly because I am a woman. If only I am a man, he would think twice before criticizing me. Because I am a woman, he thought I would not react on what he’s b***** about,” Duterte-Carpio said in translated English.

When the former House Speaker was sought for a comment in April regarding his verbal spat with her, he only said, “Ayaw kong mag-comment diyan.”

‘It’s the mayor’ 

Three members of the House of Representatives have previously shared that Alvarez’s heated verbal exchange was the likeliest reason for him to be ousted by Duterte-Carpio.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio during the launching of Tapang at Malasakit Alliance for the Philippines on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017, at the Bonifacio Taguig City in Taguig. (Philippine News Agency/Avito Dalan)

Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali said, “I think it was more the rift of the speaker with Mayor Sara. Nobody saw it coming, it happened too fast. To my understanding there were calls made Sunday night, that’s about it.”

ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio noted the Davao City mayor’s connection to the president.

“She is not the president. She is only the president’s daughter. She is only the mayor of Davao City. But we can already see the influence she wields on Congress of the Philippines. It’s no longer the majority—it’s the mayor,” he said.

“We all thought Speaker Alvarez was such a diehard who took extreme measures to please the administration, but it turned out there was a bigger fish, which is why he was set aside,” Tinio continued.

His sentiments were equally echoed by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr.