MANILA (UPDATED) - House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Saturday said members of the ruling PDP-Laban should also support candidates from other parties who back the administration's push for federalism.
“[Even if] [t]hey are not members of the party but they are very supportive of the President,” Alvarez said in a press briefing in Zamboanga City.
Alvarez, PDP-Laban secretary general, has been going around the country to spearhead mass oath-taking ceremonies for new members as he spoke about fielding a senatorial slate exclusive for party members.
His stance on keeping a solid party slate softened after at least 5 reelectionist senators said they were planning to run under Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio's new regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago.
President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter, who has been vocal about her dislike for the House Speaker, has created a super majority in the Davao region that is expected to go head to head with Alvarez's regional slate.
Alvarez, however, maintained that PDP-Laban members should only support candidates who are in favor of the shift to federalism.
"'Yung mga senador na ayaw sa federalism, isulat 'yung pangalan at kung puwede pagdating ng eleksiyon huwag niyong iboto kasi ayaw nilang umunlad ang mga probinsiyano," Alvarez said during PDP-Laban's oathtaking in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, Saturday.
“Federalism is the cornerstone of the PDP... It is awkward that PDP has an advocacy for federalism and yet you would be singing another song,” he said.
Alvarez said his campaign for federalism is to promote President Rodrigo Duterte's advocacy. He added that the opposition is welcome to campaign against senators who support federalism.
"We have to make sure that the advocacy of the President will continue, so kung gusto nila manawagan din sila na huwag iboto ang mga pabor sa federalism ganun lang naman yon," Alvarez said.
Alvarez added that there is no political pressure for local government officials to join the ruling party.
"There is no pressure, sila ang pumupunta sa amin. Hindi sila pinipilit na sumali sa PDP," he said. -- with reports from Jay Dayupay, ABS-CBN News