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DOJ, Navy eye raps vs. Alvarez

Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez
Rey E. Requejo, Maricel Cruz & Vince Lopez

Probes to determine whether statements seditious, rebellious

The Department of Justice and the Philippine Navy will investigate the statements of Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez to determine whether the lawmaker can be held liable for sedition, inciting to sedition or rebellion for calling on the military to withdraw support from President Marcos.

Amid the widespread flak he has been receiving, Alvarez on Tuesday backtracked from his earlier call on the military.

“I’m sorry, I just got carried away and my emotions got the better of me,” he said.

But Justice Secretary Jesus Remulla already ordered a probe into the lawmaker’s statements, noting that these were “unbecoming of the House of Representatives.”

“As a former lawmaker myself, I would like to remind Congressman Alvarez to act in accordance with the highest standards of ethics, morality and nationalism, and avoid remarks unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives,” he said.

The Philippine Navy also ordered the 9th Marine Brigade to investigate the statements of Alvarez, who is a Marine reservist, and have him explain the issue.

“The result of the investigation will be the basis of the Navy’s actions moving forward,” the Navy said in a statement.

“We take exception to the recent statement of the 1st District Davao del Norte Representative and Marine reservist, Pantaleon Alvarez. The Philippine Navy is a professional organization dedicated to uphold our mandate of safeguarding the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the state,” the Navy added.

Alvarez’s colleagues at the House of Representatives said his call for a withdrawal of support may be tantamount to a power grab.

Reps. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin, Khalid Dimaporo of Lanao del Norte, Zia Alonto Adiong of Lanao del Sur and House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe of Zamboanga City – all fellow legislators from Mindanao – said it was very irresponsible for Alvarez to make such a call.

“Former Speaker Alvarez’s irresponsible remarks are not only seditious but also undermine the stability of our government and the rule of law. We cannot allow such reckless behavior to go unchecked,” Dalipe said.

“The response to the seditious statement should be the immediate filing of a criminal case so that the move to incite people, including the military, to rebel against the government will be nipped in the bud,” Romualdo said.

“At face value, his anti-government statements are unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives and may warrant an ethics case against him,” Dimaporo said.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday said calls for a possible coup and support for a partisan agenda is “futile.” and may be grounds for criminal investigation.

“Calls for them to ‘withdraw support’ will not amount to anything but to a possible criminal investigation,” Teodoro added.

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