DUMAGUETE CITY – Rep. Bebot Alvarez’s incessant call for NO-EL or no elections could have been the last straw that triggered the ouster of his speakership in the Lower House. This was disclosed by Senator Cynthia Villar who was the guest of honor during the eve of the fiesta celebration of Tanjay City on Tuesday upon the invitation of Mayor Reynaldo Concepcion. “We have to have elections to prevent instability in government, “Villar said. “Iyon (Alvarez’s NO-EL stand) siguro ang isa sa mga dahilan na may change ng leadership sa House of Representatives. (Alvarez’s NO-EL stand might have been one of the reasons why there is a change of leadership in the House of Representatives.)”
Seconding Villar’s NO-EL-triggered ouster-coup theory was Mayor Felipe Remollo who was at the Batasan floor no less as an invitee of the Duterte SONA affair. He witnessed the dramatic ouster proceedings as well as the consequent oath-taking of Speaker-Elect Gloria Arroyo. Remollo said that Alvarez might already have felt an ouster coming but may have not thought that it would happen during the President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA). He (Alvarez) was completely caught by surprise since many of his supporters bolted from his side and supported an Arroyo speakership.
Congress remains fraught in tension as cooler heads endeavor to prevail. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, president of PDP-Laban chaired by President Rodrigo Duterte, released a statement saying that the party is unfazed by talks of partymates reportedly planning to leave the group after the shake up in the Lower House. The Upper Chamber, meanwhile, remains united against any move to postpone next year’s midterm elections. “Both the majority and minority are united in not rushing charter change and to have elections in 2019 as scheduled, “said Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.