Former Transportation Sec. Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez is the odds-on favorite to be elected as House Speaker under a Duterte administration.
A Politiko sourcs said Duterte has very few trusted and long-time friends and Alvarez was part of that exclusive, inner circle.
Based on partial results, Alvarez is currently leading the congressional race in Davao del Norte’s first district.
Alvarez, who advocated a separate Mindanao republic, served one term as Davao del Norte Rep. from 1998 to 2001. He was Assistant General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority before he won a seat in Batasan.
Alvarez was a Transportation Secretary of the Arroyo administration from 2001 to 2002.
Aside from Alvarez, re-electionist Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles, is also included among those being chosen by Duterte to head Congress.
Nograles is the son of former House Speaker Prospero Nograles. Karlo’s mother, Rhodora Bendigo is a third cousin of Duterte.
Nograles’ father and Duterte had been fierce political rivals in Davao for decades until they decided to patch things up in this year’s elections to ensure that Malacanang would have its first Mindanao president.
A dark horse bet is Speaker Sonny Belmonte of the Liberal Party who, a Politiko souce, was capable of forming a coalition group in the House to support Duterte to allow him to keep his title for his last and final term.