By Ria Fernandez
Former Negros Oriental 1st District Representative Jacinto “Jing” Paras refused to directly comment on rumors that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez will be replaced by Pampanga Second District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) today.
“Bakit naman papalitan si Speaker Alvarez? (Why would they replace Speaker Alvarez?),” Paras, now a Labor Undersecretary, said in rhetoric to Manila Bulletin during an ambush interview at the South Wing Lobby.
However, Paras, being a lawmaker at the House for three terms until 2007, said that changes in the leadership usually happen if there is a go-signal of the President.
“Since time immemorial, walang movement ‘yan, walang palitan na halalna speaker kung walang go signal ng pangulo (there is n movement, no change in elected speaker if there is no go signal from the President),” he said.
“This is only possible (when) there is change in leadership when the President has given a go signal,” he added.
But so far, Paras said he has not heard the President give imprimatur to oust Alvarez.
Nevertheless, he noted that “we can never be sure.”
“Some people are saying this. Some people are saying that…we can never be sure with what’s going to happen.”
CGMA as Speaker
For Paras, Arroyo, being a President for nine years, is “very, highly qualified” for the speakership.
He also thinks that Arroyo will be “a good supporter” of the administration.
“If ever the president will allow it, she will be a good supporter also of the programs of the administration,” Paras said.