Bicol lawmaker says Suarez should stay as House minority leader
With four different groups vying to be declared as the official minority bloc in the House of Representatives, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe said he believes Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez should remain as House minority leader.
“Nagsisimula ang Kongreso kung saan vacant lahat ang position, ang pwesto (Congress is starting out with all positions vacant),” Batocabe said in a media forum on Thursday.
However, he argued that the positions of the majority and minority leaders have not been declared vacant. Hence, Suarez, the incumbent minority leader, should stay in his post.
Batocabe stressed that there is no need to reorganize the House of Representatives since it voted only to replace former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“You are electing the Speaker not for the purpose of organizing the House but for the purpose of placing somebody in the vacant position of the Speaker,” he said.
But Rule II, Section 8 of the Rules of the House and Supreme Court decision G.R. No. 227757 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.
The House rules also state that “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.”
Suarez voted for Arroyo.
Suarez and three other groups have come forward to vie for the minority leadership post as of Wednesday. They were the Liberal Party (LP) lawmakers who abstained from the proceedings to elect former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the allies of Alvarez, and the Makabayan opposition bloc.
LP submitted a letter to Speaker Arroyo on Wednesday, claiming that they are the “true Minority.” — Daphnie Beltran/INQUIRER.net Intern /ee
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