Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of Davao del Norte has dismissed fears that the opposition bloc is controlled by the “Super Majority” in the House of Representatives.
Alvarez made the statement after scathing criticisms from the camp of Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman that Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez’s assumption of the House minority leadership on Wednesday paved the way for a sham minority bloc since Suarez’s victory was buoyed by the votes of those who abstained from voting in the Speakership race on Monday.
A day after Suarez lost to Rep. Teddy Baguilat of Ifugao in the House minority leader contest, 18 lawmakers who abstained and the seven who voted for Suarez on Monday convened on Tuesday and elected Suarez to be the House minority leader. Suarez got 22 votes, with three congressmen abstaining.
“No, that is not a majority-installed minority [bloc]. I did not even vote for anyone even if by tradition, I should vote for my opponent,” Alvarez told reporters at the sidelines of a meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines.
The Speaker was referring to the Speakership race last Monday where he overwhelmingly won by 251 votes against Baguilat who got eight votes and Suarez who only had seven votes.
“I did not want to choose between the two of them because had I chosen to vote for one of them, people would say I am in favor of this person to be the minority leader. All these [claims of scheming for a friendly minority]are mere allegations,” Alvarez said.
Among the 22 who voted for Suarez as the House minority leader on Wednesday morning were himself, Harry Roque of Kabayan party-list; Lito Atienza of Buhay party-list; Monsour del Rosario and Luis Campos of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA); Delphine Lee and Orestes Salon of Agri party-list; Anna Villaraza Suarez of Alona party-list; Harlin Abayon of Aangat Tayo; Arlene Arcillas of Laguna; Joseph Bernos of Abra; Oscar Garbin of Ako Bicol party-list, Abigail Ferriol-Pascual of Kalinga; Eugene de Vera of ABS party-list; Julieta Cortuna of A-Teacher party-list; Arnel Cerafica of Taguig-Pateros; Anthony Bravo of Coop-Natcco; Aniceto Bertiz of Acts-OFW; Amanda Bagatsing of Manila; Marlyn Alonte-Naguiat of Laguna; and Cecila Chavez of Butil party-list.
Of these 22 who voted for Suarez on Wednesday morning, 11 of them abstained from voting for the Speakership on Monday: Abayon, Alonte-Naguiat, Arcillas, Bagatsing, Bertiz, Bravo, Cerafica, Cortuna, de Vera, Ferriol and Garbin.
Alonte, Arcillas, Bagatsing, Cerafica are from the PDP-Laban but did not vote for their party mate and eventual Speaker Alvarez last Monday.
Moreover, the three who abstained in Wednesday’s voting namely Sharon Garin of Aambis-Owa party-list, Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol and Ma. Lourdes Aggabao of Isabela also abstained from voting in the Speakership race last Monday even if the party-list coalition (to which Batocabe and Aggabao belong) and the Nationalist People’s Coalition (of which Aggabao is a member) signed a coalition agreement with the PDP-Laban to form a “Super Majority” led by Alvarez in the House of Representatives.
On the other hand, Baguilat [Liberal Party or LP] Lagman and other Baguilat voters Edgar Erice of Caloocan City (Metro Manila) and Raul Daza of Northern Samar did not join the majority even if the LP inked a coalition agreement with the “Super Majority” bloc led by the PDP-Laban.
Baguilat, Lagman, Erice and Daza, however, did not sign the coalition agreement, defying the LP’s stand.
LLANESCA T. PANTI