Latest Stories

Aquino allies aim to control House


San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora: Eyeing minority leadership

MANILA, Philippines—Not content with just electing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, congressional allies of President Aquino are poised to take full control of the Lower House by snatching the minority leadership from the dwindling opposition.

San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora is banking on the votes of some administration lawmakers to beat aspiring Minority Leader Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), the recognized opposition party in the House.

“If the President’s allies take control of the majority and the minority, Congress will become a sham,” said outgoing Minority Leader Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

“We already have about 20 (votes), halo-halo (from various parties),” said Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, one of Zamora’s staunch supporters, when asked how many had committed to Zamora less than a month before the voting on July 22.

Suarez claimed Romualdez had secured the commitment of at least 20 lawmakers, less than half of them from Lakas-CMD which has only nine members in the 16th Congress.

Without the backing of the administration allies in Congress, winning the post would be a breeze for Romualdez, said Suarez.

Both Zamora and Romualdez are wooing the militant bloc of party-list group Makabayan, which has emerged as the swing vote in the battle for Minority Leader.

Makabayan can’t decide

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said Makabayan, which would have at least seven seats in the next Congress (an eighth is still possible with Piston’s pending eligibility case) has not yet decided whom to back in the minority race.

Aside from Makabayan, Zamora is also courting the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) for support.

But UNA spokesman Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco denied that the coalition formed by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former President Joseph Estrada would support Zamora.

“UNA has no final decision yet, whether to join the majority or minority in the House. But definitely Zamora is not UNA’s bet for minority leader. Zamora’s group is asking for UNA’s support for his bid. But UNA did not make any commitment to him,” said Tiangco in a text message.

“Zamora was for (Sen. Manuel) Villar in 2010, so my understanding is his last national party is the Nacionalista Party, which was in a coalition with the LP in 2013. His only association with UNA is by virtue of his joining the JV Estrada-Guia Gomez-led local party, Partido Magdiwang in San Juan. So has he resigned or is he still a member of the Nacionalista Party? I think that is a very important matter that has to be answered categorically, for the record.”

Albano said Zamora was an “independent” member of the Nacionalista Party, which fielded three winning senatorial candidates (Cynthia Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV) in the Team PNoy coalition.

Labels don’t matter

“Labels such as administration or opposition do not matter anymore in legislation. You are either part of the majority or minority depending on whom you vote for as Speaker (the one with the second highest votes becomes Minority Leader). You can be a minority without being opposed to the President,” said Albano in a phone interview. “We want a constructive opposition and not an obstructionist opposition.”

Albano is with the Nationalist People’s Coalition, which is also part of the administration coalition. “We can be a part of the minority and yet remain with our party which belongs to the administration. There is no conflict, it’s not a heaven or hell situation,” said Albano.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Congress , Ferdinand Martin Romualdez , House , lower house , Philippines , Politics , Ronaldo Zamora

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  2. Chinese lawyers say they were tortured by police
  3. Hair salon’s Kim Jong Un poster riles embassy
  4. Siquijor ‘healer’: For every cure, there’s a plant
  5. State seeks guilty verdict for Abalos
  6. Why college grads end up in the PNP
  7. Estrada: I will pray for my detractors
  8. Miraculous image makes Gapan City top site for pilgrimage in Central Luzon
  9. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  10. Five men from Cavite found dead in jeep in Batangas
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. Massage attendant arrested on rape complaint filed by Japanese tourist
  3. ‘Tell no one’ Makati bettor won P250M lotto
  4. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  5. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  6. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  7. North Korea uses flamethrower to execute official
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  10. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Romblon mining site collapses; 3 killed
  • South Korea says 295 missing in ferry disaster
  • OFW who returned home from UAE tests positive for MERS-CoV – DOH chief
  • QC cops bear crosses as penance for demerits
  • Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  • Sports

  • China, Taiwan rout foes for 3rd, 5th places in Asian Club volleyball
  • Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  • Fielder ends HR drought, Rangers beat Mariners 5-0
  • Power Pinoys salvage 7th place in Asian men’s volley club championship
  • Knicks prevent Nets from clinching fifth seed
  • Lifestyle

  • Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  • Celebrate Easter Sunday at Buddha-Bar Manila
  • Moriones feast: A slow, steady transformation
  • Weaving ‘palaspas’ a tradition kept alive in Tayabas City
  • Finalists announced for best translated books
  • Entertainment

  • Mommy Dionisia Pacquiao’s greatest hits
  • Deniece Cornejo posts bail—report
  • Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels US concert
  • Otaku Summer Jam 2014: Summer’s hottest J-rock/Cosplay event
  • 2NE1 returns to Manila with “All Or Nothing” Tour
  • Business

  • I-Remit teams up with Lakhoo for remittances from Oman
  • Megawide nets P1.4 B in 2013
  • Longer TRO sought on rate hike
  • Make a stylish statement with the all-new Yaris
  • Hearing set in Olarte case
  • Technology

  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Another reason to quit social media this Holy Week: your safety
  • Opinion

  • We may never know
  • Couple of things
  • Mommy D’s magic
  • Stop bizarre and bloody Good Friday rituals
  • Holy Week taboos
  • Global Nation

  • Visa-free travel to Japan could boost tourism
  • 2 PCG men ordered arrested over Balintang Channel shooting
  • US Embassy closed on Holy Thursday, Good Friday
  • Relief worker draws inspiration from helping Yolanda victims
  • Philippines says peace pact should hold despite clashes
  • Marketplace