By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas admitted that he was offered by supporters of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to remain as the Majority Floor Leader prior to the removal of now deposed Speaker Pantaleon “Bebot” Alvarez from the House Leadership.
In a media interview, Fariñas disclosed that he and Alvarez already knew about the moves from various forces to unseat the Davao del Norte solon as Speaker of the House of Representatives as early as March.
“Matagal na. March pa nilalapitan na ko (ng mga proponents ng House coup). If I would want to be, palitan lang si Speaker (Alvarez) and everything will be as is. Ako pa rin ang Majority Leader,” said Fariñas.
Fariñas stressed that he decline the offer of those solons led by Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay who is a staunch ally of the former president since it would be against his principle if he will just leave Alvarez and other lawmakers loyal to the former House leader.
“I said no. Sabi ko, loyal ako na person. I am Majority Leader of Speaker Alvarez, I will be Majority Leader to him only, and hindi ako papayag sa ganyan,” said Fariñas.
Fariñas immediately warned Alvarez about the impending House coup after he heard the proposal of some solons who are disappointed with his leadership.
Fariñas said he and Alvarez told President Duterte about the ouster plot but the Chief Executive then quickly shrugged off such concern. Duterte supposedly assured his PDP Laban party mate that the former President Arroyo was not aspiring for the Speakership.
“Sabi ni Presidente (noon), wala naman kaming problema ni Bebot. In fact, he said that: ‘Invite everybody dun as birthday ko (na hosted) ni (Marinduque Rep.) Lord Allan Velasco on April 5. Para sabihin ko (doon) na si Bebot pa din ang Speaker… that was March’,” said Fariñas.
During the leadership fiasco which happened during the opening the Third Regular Session of Congress last July 23, Fariñas revealed that the group of Pichay once again approached him and reaffirmed a previous offer to leave Alvarez and he would remain as the leader of the Super Majority. The Ilocos Norte solon once again turned down Pichay’s offer.
“In the morning of July 23, pumunta sa akin si Congressman Pichay. Sabi niya: ‘I promised you before kapag seryoso na (na may clamor for change of leadership) sasabihin ko. Eto (ngayon), seryoso na. Tanggapin mo na, ikaw pa din ang Majority Leader, si Bebot lang naman ang papalitan eh.’ Sabi ko: ‘Pare walang ganyanan, hindi ako interested sa ganyan.’ Siyempre ang Majority Floor Leader, dapat trust and confidence ng Speaker ‘yan,” said Fariñas.
Fariñas insisted that both him and Alvarez would not cling on to their posts in the House. The three-term solon said he already accepted his fate, adding that he will just cherish the remaining months in his final year in the lower house and will retire quietly after 39-years in politics.