Speaker Bebot Alvarez Emerging Super Kingpin of DavNor & Comval

cha monforte column news

The boy from Barangay Matiao, Pantukan is emerging as super political kingpin of the Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley. This is first due to the simple fact that at present he is the highest ranking public official in the two sister provinces. No other DavNor or Comval citizen has gone reaching the 4th highest ranking official of the land, in the order of hierarchy as to succession, in the history of the two provinces except today’s Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez. That’s via the President’s choice. But who else became top ranking in the two provinces without a President’s blessing? Ex-DavNor Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario had only become environment minister (equivalent to secretary) for two years (1984-86) during Marcos’ troubled times. The same, too, to President Ramos’ protege, the late Roberto “Bobot” Sebastian as agriculture secretary in 1992-96.  But the two were already equaled by Alvarez when he became the secretary of the Dept. of Transportation and Communications in 2001-02 by Pres. GMA’s blessings.

The second reason why Speaker is fast emerging as super kingpin in the two provinces is that verily in terms of the congressional power of the purse, the Speaker is most influential now, standing tall and superior above his supermajority of congressmen. He’s truly a protege Speaker of President Digong, becoming more tested to deliver results for the legislative wishes of the President.

The third reason is the fact that the Speaker is the national secretary general of today’s ruling party, the PDP-Laban under the Duterte government. The Speaker has shown he is an effective driver in the fast-running PDP-Laban train, the reason why the once small party most identified with former Senator Nene Pimentel has now become today’s ruling party, snatching the fame and power of the Liberal Party in so short a time since when Pres. Digong came to power last year.  Being the PDP-Laban national sec-gen allows Alvarez a vast influence whom to choose as the standard bearer in cases of competitions to one vacant post by two or several wannabes in the party. In the party’s rules,  it’s only President Duterte as the PDP-Laban national chairman, Senate President Koko Pimentel as the national president, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi as the national vice president and him- Alvarez who can administer oaths and therefore issue the Certificate of Nomination and Acceptance (CoNA). Well, we heard a lot of mayhem and controversies at times breaking into serious fractures of the party during the runup before the filing of the certificates of candidacy.

But this CoNA is getting just ministerial in the situation when the ruling party national sec-gen is at the same time the Speaker wielding so much influence to congressional power of the purse, or clearly- I mean- the power to allocate resources, projects to legislative districts. At the same time, he has much say as to how much and who will receive party funds before and during the campaign period. The Speaker has the largesse, campaign kitty for campaign logistics besides his big say on who to place to run to important posts come the 2019 midterm election.

Related to this, there is talk about the congressional post to be vacated by last-termer Congresswoman Maricar Zamora of District 1 of Comval. It is said to be vacant and available to any able PDP-Laban members. Comval is 99.8% PDP-Laban country now after the Aug. 28 mass oathtaking. Early talk is cheap now that  it is the Speaker who can make or break on who will be the standard-bearer among wannabes. We heard first-termer Board Member Joanna Gentugaya and last-termer Vice Gov. Manuel Zamora are interested to the post. The former is neophyte, wife of Monkayo Mayor Ramil Gentugaya, the latter is comebacking, who had already tasted 9 years of the post. Congw. Maricar is said to be swapping posts with his father, that is she’ll run for Comval vice gov by 2019.  But here’s a hitch: perennial candidate and iconic ex-Diwalwal Kapitan Franco Tito had taken oath as new PDP-Laban party member two weeks ago during the Panabo mass oathtaking of PDP-Laban, and has vowed he would run for Congress in Comval’s Distrito Uno. Now how’s this Mr. Speaker? It is said that it’s the Speaker being the PDP-Laban national sec-gen who can ultimately decide this issue and not Comval PDP-Laban leaders primarily ex-Gov. and senior Board Member Arturo “Chiongkee” Uy. Of course, the latter and his pack would be first consulted.

Meantime, Davao del Norte 2nd District Congressman Tony Boy Floirendo did not pull punches against the Speaker during their renewal of oath of Kusog Baryohanon members last week in Carmen town. Cong. TBF has to play well his cards now being on the defensive side. But I’m seeing that the deciding time (pray tell, not a flash point) whether it can be said that locally the Speaker becomes the super kingpin of DavNor and Comval provinces would be based on the results of Oct. 2018 barangay elections. The winning barangay officials compose the machine and controlling it down to the grassroots is the key to electoral victory in 2019 midterm election. The boy from Barangay Matiao- it seems judging from the massive deliveries of his congressional office- is ready for that.

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Talk is cheap again from this primary sewer pipe source Tadeco paper, which invented an intrigue that Emily, the estranged wife of the Speaker will be running against him. Talk is really cheap by this sewer pipe source.