What the next president needs, according to former Speaker Alvarez

Former House Speaker Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez has reiterated that the next president needs to have "brains" and "balls," among other key qualities.

Former House Speaker Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez

"Ito ang Presidente ko: May utak, puso at damdamin, bayag, at paninindigan. Sa makatuwid, may kakayahang mamuno (This is my President: One with brains, a heart for the masses, balls, and resolve. In short, someone who is a capable leader)," Alvarez said in a statement Sunday.

His remarks were part of his message during the launching of a voter's education campaign in Tagum City, Davao del Norte titled "We need a leader, 2022" – a clear reference to next year's high-stakes presidential race.

Alvarez – known for being outspoken and frank – made similar statements last August during his radio program “CPDA Aksyon Agad!” where he told his constituents in Cebuano, "Una, kining kinahanglan mupili ta Presidente nga kahibalo muhandle imong COVID. Kanang Presidente nga utok, utok, di lang paisog-isog (Choose a President who has brains, not just one who is all courage)."
He gave this advice to voters at a time when public anxiety was high over the continued rise of COVID-positive cases in the country.

This went viral since Alvarez was known to be a close friend of his fellow Mindanaoan, President Duterte.
Duterte and Alvarez had been partymates – Alvarez was the secretary-general of and Duterte the chairman of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.

The solon clarified that he wasn't criticizing Duterte, saying that he merely wanted to smarten up his constituents in time for the 2021 polls.

However, Alvarez announced last Nov. 15 that he had bolted PDP-Laban and joined the Reporma party of former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa.

"We need a leader, tunay na leader, at hindi pretender (a real leader, not a pretender)," Alvarez said in his voters' education campaign message.

"Kailangan ang Presidente may utak para maintindihan niyang mabuti ang mabibigat na problema ng bansa upang sa ganoon ay makapagbigay siya ng tamang solusyon para sa ikabubuti ng bayan (A President needs to have brains so that he can thoroughly understand the big problems the country is facing and at the same time provide proper solutions to them)," he said.

"Kailangan ang Presidente, may lakas ng loob para harapin ang mabibigat na problema ng bansa at buong tapang na magdesisyon para ipatupad ang makahulugang reporma na ikabubuti ng karamihan kahit na sino ang masagasaan (A President needs to be brave enough to face the country's big problems and to implement meaningful reforms that would benefit the majority, in spite of who may get trampled)," he added.

Alvarez has been largely out of view in the House of Representatives following his ouster from the Speakership last July 2018, choosing to stay in his district. He won a fresh term as congressman in the May 2019 elections.