PROSPERIDAD, Agusan del Sur - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday told new members of the ruling PDP-Laban not to vote for senatorial candidates who are against the federalism.
Speaking before some 3,100 newly-inducted party members, Alvarez said the shift from a unitary to a federal form of government, President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign promise in 2016, is for the good of the country, especially the regions.
"Puwede ba ko mohangyo sa inyo isa lang? Puwede ba kadtong mga senador na supak sa federalism ayaw gyud iboto karong eleksiyon (Can I ask you one more favor? In the coming elections, will you please not vote for the [aspiring] senators who are against federalism)?," he said Thursday in his native Bisaya, in reference to the 2019 elections.
Alvarez said he would make sure that PDP-Laban candidates in the upcoming midterm elections in 2019 "have the brains" for their positions and are hardworking.
The Davao del Norte Representative was guest speaker at the oath-taking of new members of Duterte's political party, among them officials from different barangays and municipalities in the province.
Alvarez has been pushing for federalism in his provincial outings. Last month, he told newly inducted PDP-Laban members in Iloilo that those who would not support the administration, including the federalism push, would not be given funding.
He later clarified it was just a joke.
Agusan del Sur Governor Adolph Edward Plaza, who was a member of the Liberal Party (LP), the ruling bloc during the time of party stalwart former President Benigno Aquino III, led the oath-taking.
In the May 2016 elections, Plaza campaigned for then presidential candidate Mar Roxas before leaving LP for PDP-Laban.
Plaza said he is only hoping that the dream of peace and unity in Mindanao would be realized. -- report from May Diez, ABS-CBN News