Manila Rep. Abante formally elected House minority leader
MANILA, Philippines — Members of the House of Representatives’ Minority bloc formally elected Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. as their leader on Tuesday afternoon.
The bloc assembled in the House premises a day after the chamber elected Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano as Speaker.
The voting was swift and faced no objections.
The minority is initially made up of 28 congressmen who voted for Abante as Speaker during the first session of the House for the 18th Congress on Monday.
The six-member progressive Makabayan bloc and some members of the Liberal Party also voted for Abante and joined the minority.
Ako Bicol Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr. said the Minority bloc would likewise elect their seven deputy minority leaders and four assistant minority leaders in the coming days.
During the meeting, members were also asked to submit a list of their priority measures and preference for committee memberships within the week.
‘Objective, critical’ Minority
Abante, who has been an advocate of the Freedom of Information bill, also assured his members that they would be free to express their sentiments and opposition in various issues in the chamber.
“We would like the minority coalition to have an objective, critical, collaboration with the administration… we do not want to be disruptive,” Abante told the group.
“I always work by consensus, I will not be someone who will force you to do what you don’t want to do. You are free to express your sentiments… you are free to speak of what you believe in,” he added.
Camarines Sur 3rd District Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr. raised the criticism of his fellow LP lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman who hit the majority-installed minority leader.
“I believe you have to do something to come up with a group which can truly be called the minority group, not catering to the and wishes of the minority, but we have our own objectives,” Bordado said.
Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District Rep. Isagani Amatong meanwhile said the minority “should not be a company union.”
“I can assure you that,” Abante responded.
On Monday, 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,” the LP lawmaker said./gsg
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