BY JOHNNY DAYANG
Except for a few media stories, defrocked House speaker Pantaleon Alvarez descended from this PDP-Laban throne without much fanfare, abdicating his post as secretary general of a party he did not serve honorably and well.
His fall from grace started when he took the gamble of coming out with a double-edged statement stating the next President must walk the talk and not use bravado in asserting power. Alvarez, however, cast the die on the wrong side. The undercurrents that followed signaled his eventual exit from a party he once bullied by sidestepping on its internal rules.
To mitigate the impact his recent statement, the expelled House leader made a polite departure without courting the President’s ire. To reduce the bad vibes generated by his retreat, he launched his voter’s education campaign. He also made sure the moribund Reporma Party of ex-Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, his new home, would participate in his outdated gambit.
Alvarez’s literacy campaign is more comic that rational. For someone associated with “dirty” money in the 2019 polls, he also faces the accusation he was behind the “get rich quick” scheme that took Tagum City by storm that year. Worse, people accuse him of keeping the proceeds from the money trap and using these to finance an awfully costly electoral campaign.
Recently, the “masterminds” in the investment scheme have been apprehended. People are therefore hopeful that after the dust has settled, the true story behind the scam can be known and the brains of the rip-off exposed and identified.
Viewed from the ground, Alvarez’s political star is slowly losing its luster. After betraying Rep. Antonio R. Floirendo Jr., who funded his political dreams, some of his friends have looked at him like an expired bulb. With no power to hang on, his utopian campaign to educate gullible voters may only rub more salt to his already injured reputation.
There are also issues that he must confront in the months or years to come. The Ombudsman has already commenced digging into the plunder case filed against him in Davao City. With the recent creation of a national anti-graft task force, there is no arguing the billion-peso flyover in Tagum City, still incomplete up to this minute, would face scrutiny.
If the anti-corruption rangers really want to dig mud, why not include the nagging issue of Alvarez having purchased numerous high-priced properties during his House leadership? For someone who had to beg for money to fund his past political campaigns, seeing him now wallow in luxury and affluence raises more questions than answers.