MANILA , Philippines – The battle among the three factions vying to be recognized as the true minority bloc in the House of Representatives continues.
The three groups who laid their claim on the House minority leadership post are: the group of current Minority Leader Danilo Suarez; the 24-member coalition among Liberal Party (LP), Magnificent 7 and progressive Makabayan bloc members led by Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo; and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s group, led by Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas.
But during Monday’s session, Fariñas said they already joined Suarez’s group, with the belief that ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene De Vera should stand as the acting minority leader because he was the most senior in the old minority group who abstained in the voting for the speakership.
Fariñas said De Vera already accepted them, including Alvarez, in their group.
However, both camps of Quimbo and Fariñas have asserted that Quezon 3rd District representative Suarez could not be hailed as the minority leader because he voted for Arroyo.
Under Rule II Section 8 of the House rules, “Members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House.”
As of Tuesday, Quimbo’s group include the following:
- Minority Leader Miro Quimbo (LP – Marikina City D2)
- Rep. Francis Gerald Abaya (LP – Cavite D1)
- Rep. Vicente Alcala (LP – Quezon D2)
- Rep. Gary Alejano (Magdalo Party-List)
- Rep. Kaka Bag-ao (LP – Dinagat Islands)
- Rep. Teddy Baguilat (LP – Ifugao)
- Rep. Bolet Banal (LP – Quezon City D3)
- Rep. Kit Belmonte (LP – Quezon City D6)
- Rep. Emmanuel Billones (LP – Capiz D1)
- Rep. Gabby Bordado (LP – Camarines Sur)
- Rep. Arlene Brosas (Gabriela Party-List)
- Rep. Ariel Casilao (Anakpawis Party-List)
- Rep. France Castro (ACT TEACHERS Party-List)
- Rep. Raul Daza (LP – Northern Samar D1)
- Rep. Emmi de Jesus (Gabriela Party-List)
- Rep. Toff de Venecia (LP – Pangasinan D4)
- Rep. Sarah Elago (Kabataan Party-List)
- Rep. Edgar Erice (LP – Caloocan City D2)
- Rep. Edcel Lagman (LP – Albay D1)
- Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong (LP – Negros Oriental D1)
- Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato (LP – Occidental Mindoro)
- Rep. Antonio Tinio (ACT TEACHERS Party-List)
- Rep. Tom Villarin (Akbayan Party-List)
- Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna Party-List)
The official number of members of the Suarez group had not been cleared by the group.
Meanwhile, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin blocked Fariñas’ argument that De Vera should be the acting minority leader. He said there was no rule of succession under the House rules.
Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr., an Arroyo ally, earlier said the factions should discuss amongst themselves the squabble on the minority leadership post, as the majority bloc would not intervene on the issue.
But Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said they cannot and discuss this issue with the other camps.
“Sitting down with them may be an option but how do you sit down with a usurper like the group of Suarez who have already abandoned their minority status by voting Arroyo… and Fariñas who kept on saying they will support the administration’s programs?” he asked. “That is incongruous to a minority position.”
Last July 23, Arroyo sealed her return to power when 184 lawmakers elected her as the House Speaker, replacing another Duterte ally, Alvarez. (davaotoday.com)