Alvarez, allies join House minority bloc
By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — Ousted speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas, along with a dozen allies, have aligned themselves with the House minority bloc under deputy minority leader and ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene De Vera.
Fariñas bared on Tuesday that De Vera has accepted their application to the minority bloc.
The issue on the composition of the minority in the lower chamber remains unresolved as plenary debates ensued on the matter during Monday’s session.
The three factions coveting the opposition bloc are the following: Alvarez’ allies; the Liberal Party lawmakers who abstained voting for Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo; and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez’ group, which seeks to retain their minority status despite 14 of its 17 members voted for Arroyo as Speaker.
Fariñas earlier said De Vera is the “acting minority leader” after most of Suarez’ bloc “abandoned” the minority by voting for Arroyo.
In a letter to Speaker Arroyo, De Vera said he has accepted the application of “several former members of the Majority to the Minority” including: Alvarez, Fariñas, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, Leyte Rep. Lucy Gomez, Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, Davao Oriental Joel Almario, LPGMA Partylist Rep. Arnel Ty, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Aileen Radaza, Compostela Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Makati City Rep. Manuel Monsour Del Rosario III, and Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr.
According to House rules, the minority bloc will be comprised of congressmen who did not vote for the elected Speaker.
The rules also state that members who voted for the winning candidate automatically becomes part of the majority.
Fariñas, during Monday’s session, warned the current leadership that he will bring the minority issue before the Supreme Court to resolve the issue if it will insist Suarez as the minority leader.
Fariñas also warned the leadership that if LP will lead the minority bloc, it will control the legislative branch as it also controls the minority in the Senate.
On Monday, members of the progressive Makabayan bloc have teamed up with the members of the LP to join a Liberal-led minority bloc in the House.
The Liberal-led minority bloc is composed of Cavite Rep. Francis Gerald Abaya, Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr., Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal, Quezon City Rep. Jose Christopher Belmonte, Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr., Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza, Pangasinan Rep. Christopher de Venecia, Caloocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Negros Oriental Rep. Jocelyn Limkaichong, Occidental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato, Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate. (PNA)