Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez is still House minority leader
Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez remains the minority leader of the House of Representatives after the lower chamber conducted a vote of ayes and nays on Tuesday.
Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. made the motion during the chamber’s session.
“I would like to finally resolve the minority leadership issue… and recognize Rep. Suarez as the minority leader,” Andaya said.
The election via viva voce was effective after presiding Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro said “the ayes have it” despite objections from several lawmakers.
The election came on the second week of the debates into the minority leadership squabble. Aside from Suarez, Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo and ABS Rep. Eugene De Vera were also vying for the minority leadership post.
Several lawmakers objected to the chamber’s recognition of Suarez as the minority leader, with some branding the procedure as “illegal.”
Former Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte 1st District Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas asked how his vote was counted as he reiterated his objection to the election of Suarez as minority leader.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman meanwhile said he abstained, saying the minority leadership issue “is not subject to the approval of the plenary but the minority and independent members” alone.
“What you’ve done is a violation of the rules,” he said.
Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo signified his continuing objection to the decision, “for simply being illegal, not in due course, and in direct violation of the Supreme Court decision… on the case of Baguilat vs Alvarez.”
“I so make this continuing objection and that this cloud hanging over all proceedings of the House will continue and that we will take the necessary recourse where it is needed so as to bring order in this House,” the Liberal Party lawmaker said.
“What we witnessed today not only created a legal question but in fact, cemented it,” Quimbo added.
De Vera, meanwhile, said it was “with (a) sad heart” that he had to object to the election of Suarez.
“Hon. Suarez is a very good leader during my stint as a member of the minority group under his leadership but again, rules are rules,” De Vera said.
Aside from them, Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. and the House Makabayan opposition bloc, through Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, have also signified their objection to the motion recognizing Suarez as the minority leader.
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.”
Suarez voted for Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, an argument both Quimbo and De Vera’s camps have been using against him. /vvp
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