Alvarez nixes speaker pick

FORMER Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez on Wednesday evening lamented that the absence of consultation by Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on the choice of the next Speaker created division among its members.

Alvarez, PDP-Laban secretary general, denied the claim of Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, PDP-Laban president, and Sen. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, a PDP-Laban stalwart, that there was a consultation on the alleged decision to support the speakership bid of Marinduque Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.

He said the ruling party should not have picked Velasco as its candidate in the speakership race and just waited for President Duterte to make his choice.

“To me, it would have been better if we waited for the President (to choose his speakership bet) because it will really be divisive,” said Alvarez. “We don’t want that to happen. What we want is for all the supporters of the President to be united.”

Alvarez was among the PDP-Laban’s contenders along with Pampanga Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales.

The decision was made after the President decided that he would no longer pick his bet and even outgoing Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo decided not to choose her successor.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, one of the 40 PDP-Laban members supporting Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, has also slammed the ruling party’s threat to sanction those who will not vote for Velasco.