Robredo: Suarez’ election as minority leader violates Congress’ rules
Vice President Leni Robredo is saddened with the installation of Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez as House minority leader, noting that the lawmaker has voted for the new Speaker.
“Lubhang nakalulungkot ang nangyari ngayong hapon sa Kamara: ang paghirang ng Majority kay Rep. Danilo Suarez bilang Minority Leader, kahit na isa siya sa mga pangunahing sumuporta at bumoto para sa bagong Speaker (What happened this afternoon at the House of Representatives is sad. Rep. Danilo Suarez was installed as minority leader even as he voted for the new Speaker),” Robredo said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Malinaw itong paglabag sa mga patakaran ng Kamara, na nagtatakdang ang lahat ng bumoto para sa nanalong Speaker ay bahagi dapat ng Majority (This is a clear violation of the House rules, which states that those who voted for the Speaker will constitute the majority),” she added.
During the House regular session on Tuesday, Suarez was elected by members of the House as minority leader through viva voce voting. Some lawmakers objected to the voting process, while others said it is illegal.
According to 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 during two controversial elections before and after President Rodrigo Duterte’s State of the Nation Address on July 23.
Robredo asked how the minority, which is usually composed of lawmakers from the opposition, will maintain its independence and preserve checks and balances if its leader belongs to the majority.
“Paano maaasahan ang independence ng ganitong uri ng “Minority,” na binuo, hindi ayon sa takdang paraan, kundi dahil sa pahintulot ng mayorya (How can legislative independence be achieved in this kind of set up when the minority leader was elected not according to House rules but through the will of the majority ?)” she asked.
“Isa na naman ito sa mga dahilan para sa tuluyang paghina ng ating mga demokratikong institusyon. Ngayon higit kailanman, napakahalagang may malinaw tayong oposisyon (This is another factor that will weaken our democratic institutions. Now more than ever we should have a strong opposition),” she added.
The country’s second-highest official added that now more than ever, the situation calls for a vocal opposition, which could have been formed in the House.
“Sa panahon na marami sa ating mga kababayan ang naghihirap dahil sa pagtaas ng bilihin, o kaya’y nagiging biktima ng krimen o pang-aabuso, kritikal na magkaroon ng mga taong titindig at magsasalita para sa kanila (At a time when our people continue to suffer from rising prices of commodities and or being victimized by crime or abuse, it is critical that we have people who will speak for them),” Robredo stressed, adding it could have been an opportunity to form a new leadership in Congress if the true minority is recognized.
Robredo, who is the chair of Liberal Party, also endorsed Marikina Representative and Liberal Party member Miro Quimbo as a possible minority leader.
She said she believes that a true minority under the leadership of Quimbo will continue to fight for human rights, the country’s sovereignty and the welfare of Filipinos. /ee
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