By ROGER M. BALANZA
Bad luck continues to hound Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon AlvarezRep. Pantaleon Alvarez: Days after he was ousted in a coup as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alvarez was also kicked out as secretary general of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bayan (PDP/Laban).
PDP/Laban chairman Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, also lost his position during election of new sets of officers at the PDP/Laban 11th National Assembly held on Friday, July 27, at the Amoranto Stadium in Quezon City.
The assembly, organized by a bloc inside PDP/Laban, was attended by members from party councils from various provinces in Mindanao; Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and other parts of Metro Manila.
Rogelio Garcia, PDP-Laban national council chair, was elected as national council chairman, to replace Pimenetel.
Willy Talag, president of PDP-Laban Makati City council and chair of the membership committee of the National Capital Region chapter, was elected to take over the position of Alvarez.
Also elected as auditor was Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, a potential senatorial bet under PDP/Laban in the 2019 mid-term election..
In electing new leaders, assembly organizers said Pimentel, Alvarez, and other party leaders committed “violations” against the PDP-Laban Charter, old accusations leveled against the top party leaders.
The violations include the conduct of mass oath taking of new members without ‘proper basic seminar” required by the PDP/Laban charter.
Last year, the bloc led by Garcia and Mindanao Council chairman Cesar Cuntapay accused Alvarez of allowing entry of “narco-politicians” into the party through unauthorized massive recruitment. A resolution issued by the PDP/Laban Mindanao Council declared Alvarez as “persona non grata” and called for his expulsion from the party.
The PDP/Laban election of new officers comes as the ruling party is bled dry by massive defection afterAlvarez was replaced in a July 23 coup as Speaker by former President and now Pampanga representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
PDP/Laban was the party that adopted President Rodrigo Duterte during the 2016 presidential election.
PDP/Laban members are reportedly forming a beeline to join the Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional party organized by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is said to have been actively involved in the ouster of Alvarez.
Duterte-Carpio, who is locked in a unsolved rift with Alvarez, one of President Duterte’s trusted allies, earlier this year called Alvarez an “asshole” and urged congressmen to oust him as Speaker, after Alvarez described HNP as an opposition party. She also vowed to campaign against Alvarez’s reelection in the 2019 mid-term election. Alvarez represents the First District of Davao del Norte.
Before Alvarez’s ouster, President Duterte said he would not involve himself in leadership change in the House.