LP members assert themselves as House’s ‘true minority bloc’
Some members of the Liberal Party have asserted themselves as the “true minority” in the House of Representatives, following their abstention in the proceedings to elect former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as House Speaker.
“We are the duly constituted minority under the rules,” said Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, who stands as the group’s elected minority leader.
The 12 LP members who participated but explicitly abstained from voting were Representatives Francis Abaya, Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, Bolet Banal, Kit Belmonte, Gabby Bordado, Raul Daza, Edgar Erice, Toff de Venecia, Edcel Lagman, Jocelyn Limkaichong, and Quimbo.
In a statement released on Wednesday, they cited Rule II, Section 8 of the Rules of the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court decision G.R. No. 227757, which states that the Minority is to be composed of those who vote for anyone other than the winning candidate as well as those who abstained from voting.
“Nothing can be clearer,” the group said, adding that they already prepared a letter to Arroyo to assert their being minority, which is mandated under the rules.
They slammed the current minority bloc led by Rep. Danilo Suarez as an “extension of the majority.”
“It was clear that the Minority was subservient to the interests of the Speaker and the Supermajority,” they said. “[W]e must not allow this to happen again, because if it does, we go back to the very reason why the change in House speakership occurred — ineffective leadership that refuses to recognize differing opinions and persuasions.”
The group also said they were open to accepting more members into Minority bloc once they have constituted themselves.
“We’re ready and willing to accept their participation joining the minority,” they said.
Arroyo was elected as House Speaker on Monday prior to the President’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), which delayed the speech for over an hour.
Aside from the 12 LP members, Suarez is also interested in retaining his leadership of the minority bloc, despite the fact that he voted for Macapagal-Arroyo to become Speaker. He said he would write to the Speaker to retain his post.
Under the House rules, “Members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House and they shall elect from among themselves the Majority Leader.”
Ousted speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s camp, which includes incumbent majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas, is also seeking the minority post.
Moreover, the Makabayan opposition bloc is “willing and able” to take on the leadership of the House minority. But they said they are ready to unite with a minority group that is ready to oppose the administration’s anti-people policies.
When asked about Suarez’s plans to remain as Minority leader, the group shut down any possibility of him doing so, because he voted for Arroyo.
Under House rules, “Members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House and they shall elect from among themselves the Majority Leader.”
“Sa kahit anong lupalop ng mundo may magiging bahagi ng minority eh hindi naman yun pupuwede,” Quimbo said. “Hindi yan ayon sa rules at hindi yon ayun sa kahit na anong rasunableng pag-iisip.”
Lagman added, “Danny Suarez and his group ousted themselves from the minority position.”
“I don’t think they’re also doing the Speaker a favor,” Quimbo continued. “Sa ginagawa nilang ganyan, ibinabalik nila ang mga problema na ikinaharap at naging dahilang kung bakit si Speaker Alvarez pinataksil.”
“Dahil walang genuine interaction, walang nangyayaring debate, at ang pinakamalaking factor dun ay ang kawalan ng tunay na Minority. So kung meron silang pagmamahal kay Speaker Macapagal-Arroyo, kailangan nilang pabayaan ang rules manaig,” he added.
The group has submitted a letter to Speaker Arroyo, making it known to the Pampanga Rep. that the 12 LP members will make up the Minority bloc. — With reports from, Daphnie Beltran, INQUIRER.net Intern /ee/vvp
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