Floirendo vows to stop Alvarez speakership
MANILA, Philippines — So-called “banana king” Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo Jr. is determined to prevent his estranged friend and ousted speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez from retaking the leadership of the House of Representatives in the 18th Congress.
“I want to correct a big mistake I committed when I emphatically endorsed (in mid-2016) Alvarez as speaker to President Duterte,” the representative of Davao del Norte’s second district, who is seeking re-election in the May 13 polls, said.
“Alvarez was a dictatorial, vindictive and divisive leader in Congress that resulted in his abrupt ouster. Thus, I have decided to join the fray not for my own political ambitions but to ensure that President Duterte gets a solid support from the House leadership,” he said.
Floirendo helped oust Alvarez in July 2018 and installed now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Floirendo, a close friend of Duterte, also promised to challenge the speakership bid of Alvarez, who is reportedly eyeing a comeback.
“Many fellow lawmakers have expressed their interest in the House speakership position, including again Alvarez,” Floirendo said.
But Alvarez – who initiated the graft charges Floirendo is now facing before the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan – seemed unperturbed.
“He has to win the elections first. It will be presumptuous for us to declare our intentions without winning the elections first,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez represents Davao del Norte’s first district and is also seeking re-election.
If Floirendo pushes through with his bid, he will be challenging other speaker wannabes, among them former Leyte representative Martin Romualdez, former senator Alan Peter Cayetano and another reelectionist, Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.