House minority to convene, elect leader on July 23
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the House minority will assemble and elect their leader and officers on Tuesday, July 23, Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said Monday.
Garbin’s statement came after the chamber elected its new Speaker for the 18th Congress, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano. The party-list representative said the 28 minority members who voted for Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. for Speaker would formally elect the latter as their leader.
“Kami po ay magkakaroon pa ng pagpupulong to officially constitute the minority and inform the House leadership, including the majority leader and the Speaker, that we will be, or kung matapos na ‘yung pagpupulong we will inform them that we’ve elected minority leader Benny Abante,” the lawmaker said in a press conference.
Garbin said they would also elect their seven deputy minority leaders and four assistant minority leaders.
Abante’s move to vote Cayetano would not make him part of the majority, saying it was just a “long-time tradition” that Speaker rivals vote their opponents, the congressman claimed.
The party-list lawmaker also said Cayetano assured that the minority would get the chairmanship of the committees on ethics and public accounts.
“He assured us that even if we belong to the minority, we will not be deprived of memberships as well as vice chairmanships in all major committees except for committee on appropriations,” Garbin said.
Some Liberal Party (LP) members, as well as the progressive Makabayan bloc, have signified their support for Abante as minority leader.
LP lawmaker and Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman criticized this, saying Cayetano and Abante are “the identical sides of the same supermajority coin.”
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