‘Magnificent 7’ take to SC to assail Suarez minority post
The “Magnificent Seven” minority bloc in the House of Representatives filed a petition with the Supreme Court assailing the election of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as minority leader.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman announced that the Supreme Court has docketed their petition for mandamus asking the high court to recognize Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat as the duly elected minority leader in the House.
Lagman said the petition was dated Oct. 14 and docketed at the Supreme Court on Nov. 10.
“The issue on the premeditated marginalization or even demise of the House minority as engineered by the leadership of the supermajority is now with the Supreme Court for adjudication,” Lagman said.
The minority post spat stemmed from the speakership race wherein Baguilat placed second place, which makes him according to tradition the rightful minority leader.
But the minority and independent members eventually held separate elections for minority leader which won Suarez the post.
Lagman said the petition does not intend to seek a temporary restraining order on Suarez’s leadership, but only for the court to expand its judicial review in this case where Congress allegedly abused its discretion in electing Suarez.
Lagman asked the Supreme Court to recognize the “Magnificent Seven” — or the seven lawmakers who did not vote for winning Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez — as the legitimate minority bloc.
“Petitioners who constitute the authentic minority are the real oppositionists in the House as shown by their consistent advocacies and pronouncements critical of the administration and the majority,” Lagman said.
In the petition, the lawmakers alleged that Suarez was disqualified from the minority race when he voted for the winning Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez because Suarez effectively became a member of the majority.
The petition also said ten lawmakers who voted for Suarez as minority leader eventually went back to the majority bloc after the elections, revealing the plot of the majority to lend some of its members and rig the elections.
The petition also decried the farce election of Suarez by both the minority lawmakers and those who abstained in voting for a speaker, the latter of whom were considered “independent members” and not minority solons under the House rules.
A separate election for minority leader is only allowed under the House rules if there is no clear runner-up to the winning Speaker, for example if there’s is only a lone candidate, or if three candidates tie for a runner-up, the petition said.
In the press briefing, Lagman said Suarez failed to assume the opposition role of the minority bloc in Congress.
He cited the role of Suarez in co-authoring the pet bills of House leaders and administration allies Speaker Alvarez and majority floor leader Rudy Fariñas.
“It’s time for them not to hide their true colors anymore. They should join the majority,” Lagman said of the Suarez-led minority. JE/rga
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