A FORMER lawmaker on Sunday claimed that legislators are being pressured to support Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd, the standard-bearer of the Liberal Party (LP) in the 2016 elections.
Renato Magtubo, former representative of the Partido Manggagawa party-list, said he received reports about alleged cases being prepared against some lawmakers to forced them to back Roxas.
“They [lawmakers]are being forced to take the so-called daang matuwid [straight path]to ensure the successful candidacy of Roxas,” he added.
An incumbent congressman who requested anonymity acknowledged that there was pressure on legislators to support the administration candidate.
“The pressure is there. It’s even being directed at Grace Poe, who is being forced to slide down as vice president by the LP. And if they can’t get her to join them, then I won’t be surprised if they try to disqualify her,” the lawmaker said.
A quo warranto case seeking to unseat Poe as senator was filed last week at the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) by Lito David of the Kapatiran Party.
Magtubo said the “carrot and stick” strategy employed by major parties during election season is not new, and he alled on legislators to listen to their real bosses, the people.
“It’s saddening to see the same tactics being employed to bully lawmakers into supporting a political agenda instead of a people’s agenda,” the former lawmaker added.
He, however, expressed hope that lawmakers, in the last remaining months of the 16th Congress, will focus on passing vital measures instead of allowing themselves to become pawns in next year’s polls.
Magtubo said if administration and opposition leaders can pressure their party mates to attend political activities of their candidates, they should also apply similar pressure to convince their members to show up for congressional hearings to pass legislations beneficial to the people.
He noted that last week, the House of Representatives was not able to start deliberations on the 2016 national budget, the anti-dynasty bill and other important measures for lack of quorum.
Magtubo said some lawmakers were absent from the sessions but they attended the LP event where President Benigno Aquino 3rd endorsed Roxas as the ruling party’s standard-bearer in 2016.
Members of the opposition also showed up when Vice President Jejomar Binay delivered his so-called true State of the Nation Address or TSONA in Cavite province.
“Walang tao, walang quorum sa Kongreso, pero puno ang Club Filipino at Gloria Maris. Ang ibang kongresista naman ay naroon sa Tsona ni VP Binay sa CavSU (Cavite State University) [There was a quorum in Club Filipino and also in Gloria Maris, but none in Congress. There were also congressmen during the Tsona of VP Binay in CavSU],” Magtubo said.
“Imbes na hilahin ang mga congressmen na magpakita ng suporta para sa mga tatakbo sa 2016 ay dapat hikayatin ng mga namumuno ang mga ito na mabilisang ipasa ang mga importanteng batas tulad ng Security of Tenure Bill, Anti-Dynasty Bill, Freedom of Information Bill at iba pang mga mahalaga para sa masa [Instead of pressuring congressmen to show their support for those running in 2016, they should be encouraging them to pass important pieces of legislation like the Security of Tenure Bill, Anti-Dynasty Bill and Freedom of Information Bill, among others)]” he added.
Magtubo said it was obvious that the administration will exert pressure to ensure the victory of Roxas, who had been lagging in surveys.
According to him, there were rumblings in the House that “loyalty checks” were being conducted to single out legislators who were absent during the anointment of Roxas in Club Filipino.