Cracks showing in House majority | Inquirer News

Cracks showing in House majority

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 12:04 AM March 15, 2017

The substantial number of “no” votes for the death penalty bill, a centerpiece measure of the Duterte administration, has highlighted the emerging “cracks” in the supermajority coalition in the House of Representatives, opposition lawmakers said on Tuesday.

“A coalition that is not built on principle is a coalition that’s built on sand—it will collapse eventually,” said Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin, a member of an independent minority faction in the House.

Speaking at a press forum, he said the 217-54 vote on the death penalty measure was a harbinger of more bitter infighting in the 292-seat chamber, as President Duterte’s allies tried to maintain their grip on the supermajority.


The House approved the death penalty bill on third reading last week amid strong resistance from the Church and human rights groups. The proposed law restores the death penalty for major drug offenses.


Villarin said the 54 votes against the bill was more than what the majority had expected. Some notable “no” votes came from prominent House leaders, among them Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, nine committee chairs and one member of the Commission on Appointments.

They defied a threat by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to remove them from their posts if they did not toe the coalition line on the death penalty bill.

The Liberal Party (LP), the former ruling party, was evenly split with half of its 32 members voting for the bill and the other half against it.

“There are cracks in the coalition, not only in the death penalty issue, but also in mining and the businesses they think are affected [by administration policies]. That will really come into play in the coming months,” Villarin said.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, an LP member, said the House leadership was employing a “doctrine of divide and rule” in handling the LP leaders who might lose their posts.

He said the reported plan of House leaders to replace the antideath penalty LP members with other LP members was a way to “mollify” the party and to keep the status quo.


“The House leadership has been acting with alacrity, virtually in reckless abandon, in pushing the death penalty, but in implementing reprisals, they are slow and calculating,” Lagman said.

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TAGS: House of Representatives

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