Ifugao brave is new House minority leader–for now
IFUGAO Rep. Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party became the surprise minority floor leader after getting more votes than Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.
That is, if tradition and the old rules of the House of Representatives should have been followed.
But after Davao Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez III of Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan handily won the House speakership, no one was declared minority leader because suddenly, those who did not vote for the winning candidate, including those who abstained, must meet again and choose their new leader.
This was according to the majority leader, Ilocos Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, when Buhay
Rep. Lito Atienza asked who constituted the minority, shortly after the nominations were made on the floor.
Alvarez won handily with 251 votes. Baguilat received eight votes, while Suarez had seven. Baguilat voted for himself, while Suarez voted for Alvarez. There were 21 abstentions.
Baguilat vowed to fight it out, saying he would insist on the rules followed in the 16th Congress and the tradition that has been followed at each Congress.
“We have to follow what has always been our protocol that whoever gets the second highest [vote] in the race for the speakership, becomes minority leader,” Baguilat said.
Since this was the first time in recent memory that this happened, Baguilat said he did not know whether the voting for minority leader would take place on the floor or if a meeting among the minority members would suffice.
Asked why the numbers game suddenly became complicated, Baguilat said: “Because they really wanted to come out with a coopted minority and it really requires a lot of machinations.”
On Sunday, Alvarez denied that there were moves to manipulate the voting for speakership.
Whether he would be the minority floor leader, he and his colleagues would become a “critical fiscalizing force in this administration,” Baguilat said.
On Sunday night, he tweeted: “The supermajority and the anointed minority want to make sure that dissent is controlled and meek. So a few brave souls have decided. I will run for speakership of the House of Representatives. We won’t win. We won’t even make it as minority floor. But doing what’s right.”
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