Opposition party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) will start scourging for allies next week to bolster the bid of Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte as the House Minority bloc chief.
Outgoing House Deputy Minority Leader and Rep. Danilo Suarez of Quezon province made the disclosure in a press conference on Wednesday.
Under House rules, the second highest vote-getter in the race for the House Speakership will be automatically named House Minority Leader. Reelected Rep. Feliciano Belmonte of the Fourth District of Quezon City is likely to retain Speaker post because there are at least 97 LP members who won House seats in the 2013 polls. Moreover, the Majority bloc coalition in the House includes LP, Nacionalista Party (NP) and Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and the National Union Party (NUP).
“Lakas, thru Martin, will definitely challenge the House Speakership. When you are running for an election, your expectation is to win the fight. But we are also pragmatic that we don’t have the luxury of numbers right now. So we want to be a solid opposition, not a company union [by securing the House Minority leader post],” Suarez said in a press conference.
A company union term is a jargon for a situation wherein the House Majority bloc will field two strong bets for the House Speakership so that the House Minority Leader won’t come from the opposition bloc.
As it stands, the opposition bloc only has 14 members in its fold who will still be around in the 16th Congress by the virtue of reelection.
Suarez said that Lakas should be able to convince a handful of lawmakers to be on board because there won’t be enough strategic posts for Majority coalition members.
“We will seek an audience with the NP, NPC and NUP and at least 20 party-list representatives. Our success [in recruiting allies]would depend on the jockeying of positions within the Majority. There are those who would want to be part of the CA, certain Committees such as Accounts and Appropriations. The Majority can’t give these to all,” Suarez said, referring to the Commission on Appointments.
The Quezon lawmaker sees suspended Cebu Gov. and Cebu Rep.-elect Gwen Garcia and reelected Rep. Magi Gunigundo of the First District of Valenzuela as prospective recruits.
Reelected Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) and Rep.-elect Ronnie Zamora of San Juan are also reported to vie for the House Minority Leader post, but Suarez said that Romualdez would still prevail in the end.
“I don’t think Toby will collide with Martin because Martin is a senior and he is on his last term,” Suarez added.
Llanesca T. Panti