After ouster, Alvarez says he is now 'at peace' with himself

MANILA, Philippines – More than a week after his dramatic ouster as House speaker, Davao del Norte 1st district Representative Pantaleon Alvarez said he is now at peace with himself.

"Well, I'm at peace with myself because wala na tayong mabigat na responsibility na pasan-pasan sa balikat natin (because we no longer have the responsibility on our shoulders)," Alvarez said in an interview with Rappler on the sidelines of the PDP-Laban leadership assembly on Thursday, August 2.

Alvarez was ousted on July 23, ahead of President Rodrigo Duterte's 3rd State of the Nation Address, in a move described as "ugly and embarrassing." 

Former president and now Pampanga 2nd district Representative Gloria Arroyo replaced Alvarez as House speaker.

Asked if he would want to change past actions that led to his ouster, Alvarez said he has already moved on and has harbored no ill feelings with his colleagues and former allies. Prior to his removal, discontent over his leadership had been festering in the House of Representatives. (READ: The women behind the fall of Alvarez)

"Wala nang saysay pag-usapan pa 'yan… 'Di, tapos na ko doon, naka-move on na ako doon (There's no use to talk about that. No, Im already over that. I've moved on)," Alvarez said. 

He, however, thanked those who stood by him, including former House majority leader and Ilocos Norte 1st district Representative Rodolfo Fariñas.

"Well, para sa akin, nagpapasalamat ako dahil [sa] values ng loyalty (Well, I thank them for their loyalty)," Alvarez said.

As for Arroyo, Alvarez said he has talked with his successor about the need for a "smooth transition." He said he has no plans of running for minority leader, as he would now focus on his reelection bid in 2019.

He was mum when asked to comment on calls for Arroyo to replace him as secretary general of PDP-Laban.

Party president and Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, in a speech, told members that they should stand behind the officials despite losing key posts in Congress. Like Alvarez, Pimentel was removed as Senate president but in a smooth proceeding.

"Hindi 'yung dahil wala na sa posisyon 'yung tao, kakalimutan na natin agad kung ano naidulot at naiambag ng tao na 'yun," Pimentel said. (Just because the person is no longer in power, let's not forget the contributions of that said person.)  – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

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