By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon Alvarez will remain as an official of the Partido Demokratiko ng Pilipinas-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban), at least for now.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, issued the statement as he said that he has yet to meet Alvarez since his ouster as House Speaker Monday.
Alvarez is the secretary-general of the ruling party chaired by President Duterte.
Pimentel, in an interview at the Senate on Thursday, maintained that Alvarez will keep his position in the PDP-Laban despite being replaced by former President and incumbent Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as House Speaker. Arroyo is also a PDP-Laban stalwart.
“Oo (Alvarez is still secretary-general),” he told reporters.
“Kasi di naman kami — ito ang itinuturo ng PDP-Laban — huawag tayo masyado personality- oriented o title-oriented. Just because wala na sa position ang tao, tanggal na rin sa party position di ganoon ang binibigay ng posisyon sa party. ‘Yong nakakacontribute sa party, naniniwala sa gobyerno ng partido,” he explained.
He reiterated that only leadership of the PDP-Laban can decide whether or not to undergo reorganization.
“The party leadership will decide if there is something necessary to do. Sa ngayon wala pa naman (for now, we will not do anything),” Pimentel said when asked about the reported reorganization.
Pimentel said Alvarez is currently in Davao. He said he would have to meet him the former House Speaker when he returns.
Asked about the agenda of his meeting with Alvarez, however, Pimentel said they would have to talk about his position, and how they will “accommodate” Arroyo in the party.
“We are not forced to give her party position but it’s a good strategy to give the Speaker of the House a high-ranking position in the party,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel, meanwhile, said he would respect should congressmen decide to make changes in the party leadership in their level.
“It’s their decision in the House. It’s okay since in the House, there should be a disciplinarian of the party with the membership. They have designated somebody who will ensure that party members comply with a party position just in case there is one for a particular issue,” he said.
Although saddened by the shake-up at the House of Representatives, Pimentel assured that the same support will be given to Arroyo, being an ally.
“Dapat lang [suportahan]. Although may halong lungkot natanggal ang party mate mo, meron ding jubilation na party member din ang kapalit so halong lungkot at kasiyahan ang nararamdaman,” he said.