De Vera: I am the ‘full-pledged’ minority leader
ABS Rep. Eugene De Vera claimed Friday he is the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, in yet another multiple leadership tug-of-war within the lower chamber’s minority bloc.
De Vera said he met with lawmakers and was elected House Minority Leader by 13 congressmen, including Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday night.
“I remain to be Minority and I want to be Minority, and I had to do my job as the acting Minority Leader then, and now as the full-pledged Minority Leader, I am going to do my job,” he told ABS-CBN News Channel.
De Vera was earlier kicked out in the Minority by Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez, who insisted he remains the rightful Minority Leader even as he voted for the election of now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Sorry Congressman Suarez, but you cannot kick me out of the Minority because you belong to the Majority,” De Vera said.
He echoed other lawmakers’ argument that Section 8, Rule II of the Rules of the House of Representatives provides that “members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority.”
Suarez in turn quoted Section 13, which says “vacancy is created whenever any of the officers dies, resigns, or is permanently incapacitated, or when the House declares any office vacant.”
Suarez asserted it was only the House Speaker post – not the House Minority Leader position – that was declared vacant last July 23.
But De Vera said the rules are “very clear” and Suarez should “read [it] in its entirety.”
He then revealed that in the same way, Suarez was initially part of the Majority in 2016 when he voted for then Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez but wrote a letter to the Minority to be part of the bloc, where he was subsequently elected as its leader.
“Yes, because he followed the procedure,” De Vera said when asked if Suarez is the rightful Minority Leader then.
He also urged other lawmakers to shun politics in this issue and stick to the House rules instead.
“Please refer to the rules, and under the rules, I remain to be the minority leader,” he stressed.
Aside from De Vera and Suarez, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo, a senior Liberal Party stalwart at the House, also claims to be the Minority Leader of the lower chamber. /kga
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