Small group of House majority allies ‘masquerading’ as ‘minority’ — Lagman
MANILA, Philippines — A small group of majority allies is “masquerading” as members of the minority bloc in the House of Representatives, independent opposition lawmaker Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman said Wednesday.
Lagman said the majority in the House consists of two groups—“the more numerous supermajority and a smaller aggrupation of majority allies who masquerade as ‘minority.’”
“The handpicking by the majority leadership of the ‘minority leader’ was formalized in the 17th Congress and is perpetuated in the 18th Congress,” Lagman said in a statement.
To recall, the minority bloc recently announced the election of Abang Lingkod Rep. Joseph Stephen “Caraps” Paduano as the new House minority leader.
Paduano replaced Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante Jr. who stepped down from the House minority leadership post to join the majority bloc under the leadership of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco.
Lagman also said that the “disgruntled” majority members could not strengthen the “authentic” minority in the House.
“The disgruntled majority members who are identified with the ousted leadership cannot strengthen the authentic minority in the House of Representatives because they come with hurt egos and without ideology, conviction and commitment as oppositionists,” Lagman said.
“They might as well join the anointed ‘minority’ since they come from the same partisan corral,” he added.
Many speculated whether or not allies of former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano will join the minority bloc in the House.
Before he stepped down from his post, Abante himself said that he is willing to give his post to Cayetano should the former House Speaker want it.
However, Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers has denied that the Nacionalista Party members, including Cayetano, will join the minority bloc following the speakership row.
Vows to remain as fiscalizing force in House
Meanwhile, in response to Lagman, Paduano said he was elected unanimously by the minority bloc members.
“With due respect, that’s his opinion and I respect his opinion, but in the house, we have our own rules. In our rules sec 8 of rule, when the position of minority [is] vacant, especially minority leader, the members of minority bloc will convene and elect each new minority leader,” Paduano said in an online interview with reporters.
“Alam niyo naman, we convened last Monday. They elected me as a new minority leader. Binoto ako unanimous,” he added.
Paduano added that records show that the minority bloc has been active in issues and bills in the House that should be opposed.
“How can you influence, how can you coopt the Makabayan bloc? Minority ngayon is composed of different [individuals] and the principle that binds us, the principle–within the minority, we operate in principle of we agree to disagree,” Paduano said.
“There are issues that we will have a common stand, there are issues that will be a stand of party or individual stand of each member of minority. Rest assured that minority will be fiscalizer and balancing group in house especially on the legislation work in House,” he added.
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