PDP-Laban, Lakas-CMD sign 'coalition for change'

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Representative-elect Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez (M) of Davao del Norte

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Incoming Davao del Norte Representative Pantaleon "Bebot" Alvarez met with congressmen on Wednesday (May 18) — days after the presumptive president, Rodrigo Duterte, named him as his choice for the next speaker of the House of Representatives.

The speakership goes through an election process among members of the House.

In the meeting, Alvarez —representing Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) — signed a coalition agreement with Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD).

It's similar to the agreement he had inked with the Nacionalista Party (NP) earlier in the week.

Alvarez was also set to meet with the Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC) and the National Unity Party (NUP).

He said over 80 congressmen from various political parties — including the Liberal Party (LP) — expressed their commitment to join the "coalition for change" with PDP-Laban.

Alvarez said this made him confident they would achieve a majority and be able to push for Duterte's legislative agenda — which he said included revising the Constitution.

Related: Duterte wants to restore death penalty by hanging

Still, he said he expected conflicting views on some legislative priorities, like the restoration of the death penalty.

He said their party respected other opinions but changes must be made, pointing out that Duterte campaigned on specific platforms and the incoming president had the mandate to carry them out.

Alvarez added that the freedom of information (FOI) bill would be part of the incoming administration's priorities.

"I will request the president to certify it as urgent bill," he said.

With an emerging majority in Congress, Alvarez also dismissed the possibility of another martial law declaration if Duterte's legislative agenda did not succeed.