MANILA – The rumors of a purported coup plot against Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are just that – rumors, Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said Sunday, and cited three reasons: Alvarez enjoys the support of most of his peers, he performs well and those whose names are floated as possible replacements do not seem hungry for power.
“That rumor has been swirling for a long time, but I can’t find a verifiable source, so I’d dismiss it as a barber’s tale. Speaker Alvarez’s relations with House members are fine, and I can’t find body language among our peers indicating a threat or coup is affot against the Speaker,” Castro said Sunday in a radio interview, speaking mostly in Filipino.
He said the talk of a plot to unseat Alvarez had floated once before, but had died down. He has no idea why it has resurfaced now.
“I don’t see any basis for that talk, except that the only person I see as possible replacement is former president [now Pampanga congresswoman] Gloria Arroyo. But from my observation, I don’t see any movement or development from her camp indicating that direction. And I ask also, what for? Why would the former President be interested in a position she does not need?”
He continued, “so I find it hard to believe there’s really a plan to unseat him.”
Castro reacted strongly when told of rumors that a possible replacement to Alvarez might come from the party he heads, the National Unity Party.
“Please, don’t spread that. I’m the head of NUP and people might say I’m grooming myself to replace alvarez. That’s farthest from the truth,” Castro said in a DZBB interview.
Pressed further if it’s possible that someone else from the NUP will aspire for the top House post, Castro said, “there’s no one in our party who can replace him, and we will not do that or even contemplate it. We in NUP are faithful partners of the majority coalition. And we will never conceive of anything against our partners in the alliance.”
Castro insisted no one had reached out to them for a possible campaign to replace Alvarez. “And no one can go to any one of our NUP members without passing through me.”
He conceded the possibility that some groups had engaged in some political analysis about possible scenarios in the HOR or Senate, and some people might have mistaken the scenarios of analysts as in fact happening already. “They don’t realize these are just opinions or insights of people trying to prophecy the political future.”
Asked if it’s possible some quarters are “testing the waters,” Castro said he knew of no such move, adding, “and honestly, I’d talk if there’s really such a thing.”
At any rate, Castro asserted there is no basis right now to replace Alvarez, who he said has “a good record in terms of laws being passed, in dealing with House members, in running the institution.”
He said he saw no strong basis for replacing Alvarez, noting that he says this even if he is not personally close to the Speaker.
While conceding that sometimes Alvarez makes pronouncements that spark much public debate, Castro said this is all part of his freedom to express himself – adding that any member of the HOR is free to ventilate his or her opinion.