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Lagman opts to stay independent; hits majority-installed minority leader

/ 02:05 PM July 22, 2019
Lagman opts to stay independent; hits majority-installed minority leader

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman. INQUIRER.net file photo / RYAN LEAGOGO

MANILA, Philippines — Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman has opted to remain with the independent opposition as he criticized presumptive minority leader, Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr., whom he said was installed by the majority.

In a statement, the Liberal Party (LP) lawmaker said the candidates for Speaker–Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, and Abante–are “the identical sides of the same supermajority coin.”

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READ: House obeys Duterte, elects Cayetano as Speaker

The chamber elected Cayetano as its leader with 266 votes while Abante got 28 votes. According to previous House rules, the losing Speaker bet would become minority leader.

Other LP members and the progressive Makabayan bloc have signified their support for Abante. 

“A genuine Minority speaks truth to power in safeguarding the country and people it serves. As such we agree to support Rep. Bienvenido ‘Benny’ Mirando Abante, Jr. of the 6th District of Manila from the Asenso Manileño as our Minority Leader,” LP Secretary-General and Quezon City 6th District Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte said in a press conference.

READ: Rep. Abante as minority leader seen to ‘uphold checks and balance’ in House

Lagman lamented how precedents like the majority installing the minority leader continue to happen in the chamber dominated by pro-administration lawmakers.

“Although the dogma is that there should be no idolatrous adherence to precedents, the unfortunate fact is that precedents die hard, including those which are blatant aberrations like the majority choosing the minority leader,” Lagman said.

The veteran lawmaker also pointed out that what happened in the 16th and 17th Congresses where the choice of a minority leader was decided by the ascendant majority, is “perpetuated” in the 18th Congress where the installation of a minority leader “has been brokered and approved by the supermajority coalition.” /jpv

READ: LP divided in House, 7 to join majority

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TAGS: 18th Congress, Abante, House, Lagman, Local news, Philippine news update, SONA 2019, Sona2019
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