Real House minority loses member to supermajority
The House opposition’s “Legitimate 8” is now the “Magnificent 7.”
An independent minority faction in the House of Representatives initially composed of eight lawmakers has lost one of its key members to President Duterte’s “supermajority.”
Sagip party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta “is applying for membership” in the majority, according to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, a member of the opposition faction that supported the bid of Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat to be minority leader in July.
“Though we’re no longer the ‘Legitimate 8,’ now we’re the ‘Magnificent 7,’” Lagman told the Inquirer.
Asked why Marcoleta left, Lagman said the party-list congressman informed him that he was joining the majority coalition at the request of the Iglesia ni Cristo, a highly influential religious group known for voting as a bloc.
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas confirmed the move, but said Marcoleta had given him a different reason.
“I received a letter from him asking me to accept him in the majority pursuant to our rules,” he said.
“The reason he cited was he had realized that his advocacies were more aligned with those of the majority,” said Fariñas, also the chair of the powerful committee on rules.
He clarified, however, that Marcoleta’s transfer was not yet final. “Even if the authority is with me to act on his request, out of courtesy to the Speaker [Pantaleon Alvarez], I’ll consult with him first,” he told the Inquirer.
Lagman said he was not too upset by Marcoleta’s departure from their bloc, whose members have been critical of President Duterte and his policies.
“Even though we lost a member, we are still recognized as the real minority,” he said, noting that Minority Leader Danilo Suarez “is not being critical” of the administration at all.
The other members of their “magnificent” group are Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones, Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin and Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza.
Except for the party-list lawmakers, Baguilat, Lagman and the three others belong to the former ruling Liberal Party (LP) whose numbers have been decimated by Mr. Duterte’s PDP-Laban, now the dominant force in the chamber.
Twenty-eight LP members led by former Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. have joined the administration bandwagon, a multiparty coalition that has been touted as Mr. Duterte’s supermajority.
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