MANILA - Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday said former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's rift with Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte led to his ouster Monday.
“I think it was more the rift of the speaker with Mayor Sara," Umali told reporters.
The lawmaker said they did not see the ouster coming.
“Nobody saw it coming, it happened too fast. To my understanding there were calls made Sunday night, that's about it," he said.
In February, President Rodrigo Duterte's daughter slammed Alvarez and called him an "insecure fat sleaze" for allegedly calling her a part of the opposition when she formed a separate regional political party.
Alvarez, a Davao del Norte Representative and stalwart of the President's party PDP-Laban, had denied the Davao mayor's allegations, saying somebody might have just misheard him.
The President did not meddle in the affairs of the lower chamber, Umali said.
“Wala siyang basbas that he openly admitted, hindi naman siya nakikialam talaga (He did not openly admit to giving it his blessing, he really does not meddle)," he said.
Alvarez, meanwhile, has accepted his ouster, he said.
”Nagkausap kami kagabi, kaninang umaga. He looks composed naman. Everything has already dawned on him. Nandoon na 'yung realization of the reality that GMA (Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) has the numbers," he said.
(We spoke last night, this morning. He looks composed. Everything has already dawned on him. He already has that realization that GMA has the numbers.)
"Palagay ko 'yun na 'yun. I think it will not do the institution good kung magkakaroon pa ng bakbakan diyan."
(I think that's it. I think it will not do the institution good if there will be further bickering.)
Umali said they will form their own bloc even as they recognize the reality that they no longer have the numbers.
"The fact that the members stayed on, about almost 200 of them, nakuha niya ang boto na (she got the vote of) 184 means she has the numbers," he said.
"Congress is a numbers game, it’s the tyranny of the majority."
Arroyo secured the speakership with 184 affirmative votes while 12 lawmakers opted to abstain in a dramatic turn of events on the day of the President's State of the Nation Address. She was the sole nominee for the position.
Alvarez was supposed to be ousted during the opening session in the morning, but his allies abruptly adjourned the session to stop other members from raising a motion to declare the Speaker’s post vacant.