By ROGER M. BALANZA
Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, if she pursues a presidential bid in the 2022 election, will come face-to-face with a politician she once described as an “asshole” who will be supporting her opponent.
The daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, potentially, will be the standard bearer of the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) chaired by the President.
Former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, also a former secretary general of the PDP-Laban, in 2019 was described by the Davao City Mayor as an “asshole” after the then House Speaker said that the regional political party Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP) organized by Sara Duterte did not have the blessing of her father, the President.
Months later, Alvarez was replaced as House Speaker by former President Congressman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a coup reportedly orchestrated with help of the presidential daughter.
Alvarez , former close ally of President Duterte who represents Davao del Norte’s First District in Congress, said he is supporting Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto II, whom he called as formidable candidates for next year’s presidential and vice-presidential derby.
Alvarez has resigned from the ruling PDP-Laban and has rejoined Reporma, his former party, after blasting Duterte for alleged corruption in his administration and for the President’s alleged limp-wrist approach in the country’s squabble with China over the West Philippine Sea.
Alvarez resigned from PDP-Laban leaving a controversial statement seen as a verbal assault against Mayor Duterte in relation to the presidential race in 2022. He said the next president should be somebody with “balls.”
Alvarez disappeared from view of his constituents early this year following reports he had contracted Covid-19 and suffered a heart attack. He surfaced last week to announce his plans for the 2022 elections.
Alvarez on Sunday announced his party Partido Reporma’s endorsement of the Lacson-Sotto tandem following his lunch meeting with the two lawmakers.
Alvarez revealed that Reporma is in the process of forming an alliance with the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) in a coalition coalition called “United Philippines Alliance.”
“This is in support of the candidacies of Senator Ping Lacson for President and Senator Tito Sotto for Vice President,” Alvarez said.
Aside from the duo, Alvarez said he has also met with UNA Founder and former Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay,.