Harry Roque kicked out from House by own partylist
MANILA — Former University of the Philippines professor Harry Roque was unseated by the party-list organization Kabayan as its representative in Congress for his “severely damaging” statements, including a call on the Senate to oust Sen. Leila De Lima in November.
In a Jan. 12 resolution released to the media on Tuesday, the group’s Board of Trustees ordered Roque’s removal as a member of the party, and consequently, as its representative in the House of Representatives.
Roque, in a statement, said his ouster was “of no moment,” as it was in violation of the organization’s constitution and bylaws.
“I filed today with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a petition to compel the party to hold a party congress so that the issue of the rightful leadership of the party can be settled legally,” he said. His petition also sought the annulment of the “illegal resolution” issued by the board for being null and void.
In its resolution, the board said it was adopting the report of the committee it had assigned to investigate Roque’s acts, and statements, particularly during the Nov. 24 inquiry held by the House justice committee on the proliferation of drugs in the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa City.
The lawmaker had urged the Senate to remove De Lima if she refused to resign over allegations she had tried to prevent her former driver Ronnie Dayan from testifying in a House inquiry.
“I hope my colleagues in the Senate will protect the integrity of Congress of the Philippines consisting of two houses and will in fact remove her from her current position,” Roque was quoted in news reports as saying.
The Kabayan board said there was an “overwhelming call” on the part of its members to unseat Roque, an outspoken lawyer and minority member known for giving his opinions to the media.
“Harry Roque’s behavior and statements during the Nov. 24, 2016 hearing have gravely affected the moral sensibilities of Kabayan Partylist members and supporters,” according to the resolution.
“Because of Harry Roque’s acts and pronouncements without the prior approval of the Board, the reputation of Kabayan party-list as a party engaged in principled advocacies was/is being gravely tarnished. Serious doubts were cast on the genuineness of Kabayan party-list on its ability to deliver its core advocacies,” it said.
“Kabayan party-list members and supporters have lost their trust and confidence in Harry Roque’s ability to genuinely advance the core advocacies of the party-list,” the group added.
Kabayan, short for Kabalikat ng Mamamayan, is a multi-sectoral group representing, among others, farmers, senior citizens, the disabled, migrant workers, and the poor.
Its other representative is Ron Salo, with whom Roque has been embroiled in a feud. Earlier this month, Roque sought his colleague’s expulsion from the House for his “illegal schemes and machinations.” SFM/rga
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