Fariñas: Minority leader is also majority leader
Is Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez now the majority leader of the House of Representatives?
Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas on Wednesday scoffed at the decision of the majority in the 292-member legislative body to recognize Suarez as head of the minority bloc, a post reserved for opposition lawmakers.
“He must be the majority leader because he was voted by the majority of those present in the session hall,” Fariñas said.
Fariñas lost his post as majority leader after a coup mounted by administration lawmakers installed Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker, unseating Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, moments before President Duterte delivered his State of the Nation Address on July 23.
Close political ally
Liberal Party member and Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, a contender for the minority leader post, said Suarez, one of Arroyo’s closest political allies, should not be allowed to retain the minority leadership since he had campaign for the former President to replace Alvarez.
But majority leader Rolando Andaya Jr. denied that proadministration legislators bullied their way to hand Suarez the minority plum during the regular session of the House on Tuesday.
Supreme Court decision
He cited Rule 2, Section 8 of the House rules and a Supreme Court decision on the minority which, he said, did not apply to the current leadership row.
“(The previous case) contemplates a situation wherein the House is in the initial stage of organization. We are not in that stage,” Andaya told the plenary.
Fariñas said his group would seek the intervention of the Supreme Court in installing ABS Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera as the leader of the “validly constituted, existing minority.”
Quimbo said the Liberal Party-led faction, which has the support of the Makabayan party-list bloc and the so-called “Magnificent 7” group, would also bring to the high court “this clear abuse of power.”
Suarez, meanwhile, expressed confidence that the magistrates would eventually rule in his favor.
“The apprehension, concern and fear that checks and balance will be lost in the House are [unfounded],” he said.
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