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LP should be Duterte fiscalizer – lawmaker

The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Baguilat Jr. urged his party mates in the Liberal Party (LP) on Friday to join him in the opposition bloc in the House of Representatives.

“It will be beneficial in the long run for the LP to be the opposition and to lead the minority in the 17th Congress. The LP should be the main fiscalizer of the Duterte administration,” he said.

“Historically, the LP has been a defender of democracy and human rights, whether as the ruling party or in the opposition. Even though the party lost the presidency, it’s only logical that we continue to lead the crusade for individual freedoms and collective liberties,” he said. ?

Baguilat said while Liberals are negotiating an alliance with the new ruling PDP-Laban party, “it is clear that the LP will not be recognized as an equal in the super majority coalition.”

“LP will always be a second class partner in the administration, despite the members’ commitment to the people. That’s why I foresee that Liberals will eventually be recruited to the PDP-Laban until a minuscule LP is left,” he added.

Incoming speaker Pantaleon Alvarez has vowed to reduce the former ruling party to “bite size.”

Baguilat said he sympathizes with his colleagues who have to resort to “balimbing politics.”

“Understandably, legislators are under severe pressure to make difficult choices to secure their constituents’ interests. But the constituents also gain from stability in leadership and the assurance that the principles which led them to choose a particular candidate will be preserved,” he said.

“If we decide to lead the minority, we can chart a course for the LP that is more consistent with its ideals, instead of political pressures. We will know who will stick it out with the party through thick and thin, and that will be a blessing in the long run for party politics in the country and Philippine democracy,” he said.

The opposition in the House will be led by whichever group can field a candidate for Speaker who will obtain the second highest number of votes in the voting for the top post in the chamber on July 25, when the 17th Congress convenes.

As of now, there are two House members eyeing to lead the minority and both are allies of former vice president Jejomar Binay. They are Tobias Tiangco of Navotas, who is president of Binay’s United Nationalist Alliance, and Danilo Suarez of Quezon, a former Lakas loyalist.

Suarez has met with Alvarez and has offered to take the post of minority leader, even if Alvarez, theoretically, will not be involved in the decision-making process of members who will opt to be in the minority.

If it has the numbers, the residual LP can fight it out with Tiangco and Suarez combined, or can coalesce with either group to make sure it can lead the minority.

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