Suarez: I am close to Arroyo but I will be constructive
While admitting that he has close ties with Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez defended on Wednesday his retention as the House minority leader and insisted that their bloc would observe checks and balances in the lower chamber.
Now that the House supermajority has sealed his retention as the minority leader, Suarez said the issue should now be put to rest.
Suarez, a known ally of Arroyo, also dismissed fears from opposition lawmakers that the system of checks and balances in the lower House would be compromised given his close ties with the former President.
“As I’ve said, may track record ako eh. They’ve seen how I performed in 2010 when I was minority leader. Siguro assumption or fear lang nila ‘yun,” Suarez said during the minority bloc’s first press briefing after his win.
“I’m not denying that I’m close to the former President. Unang-una mag-cabalen kami eh… Ang point ko lang we’ve seen her as a President, and as Speaker, and I’m telling you workaholic ito,” he also said, adding that their minority bloc would be “constructive” to the Arroyo leadership.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin, Jr. meanwhile said it was wrong to brand that the majority bloc elected the minority leader. “Maling-mali. Ang dinesisyunan kahapon ay kung ano talaga ang sinasaad ng rules, correct interpretation of the rules,” he said.
But during the House session on Tuesday, it was Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. who made the motion to elect Suarez as the minority leader. A viva voce or voice voting followed after, with Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro saying “the ayes have it” despite objections from several lawmakers.
Deputy Minority Leader and Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza meanwhile downplayed the plan of Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo’s group to question Suarez’s rise to his post before the Supreme Court.
“Welcome. Dapat lang tuloy nila ang kanilang pagsisinungaling,” Atienza said, insisting that Quimbo’s group was “misinterpreting the rules” by assuming that the minority leadership post was declared vacant.
Aside from Suarez and Liberal Party lawmaker Quimbo, ABS Rep. Eugene De Vera also fought for the minority leadership seat. /muf
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