Ousted speaker Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao Del Norte), Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte) and 12 other former members of the majority were accepted into the House minority.
Biazon staff/Released, File
Alvarez, Fariñas move to House 'minority'
Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - July 31, 2018 - 4:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — The group of ousted speaker Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez (Davao Del Norte) was accepted into a "minority" bloc of the House of Representatives, according to a letter made available on Tuesday.

In a letter to Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Rep. Eugene Michael De Vera (ABS Party-list) said that he had accepted the application of Alvarez, former majority leader Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas (Ilocos Norte), former deputy speaker Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc (Pampanga), Rep. Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro) and 10 other former members of the majority to the House minority caucus.

"I have the honor to inform you that I have accepted the application of several members of the majority to the minority in the HOR (House of Representatives)," De Vera said in his letter to Arroyo dated July 26, 2018.

De Vera is listed on the House website as a deputy minority leader, presumably to Rep. Danilo Suarez (Quezon), who voted for Arroyo as speaker but also insists he did not vacate the leadership of the minority.

The other members of the majority who were accepted into the supposed minority bloc were Rep. Roger Mercado (Southern Leyte), Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (Leyte), Rep. Johnny Pimentel (Surigao Del Sur), Rep. Rodito Albano III (Isabela), Rep. Joel Mayo Almario (Davao Oriental), Rep. Arnel Ty (LPGMA), Rep. Aileen Radaza (Lapu-Lapu City), Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga (Compostela Valley), Rep. Manuel Monsour Del Rosario III (Makati City) and Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr. (Lanao Del Sur).

Before the letter's availability, Fariñas on Monday said on the House floor that they had applied to and been accepted into the minority by De Vera.

Factions battle for official minority status

The group of Alvarez and Fariñas is one of the three in the House contending to be recognized as the minority bloc in the chamber.

The House on Monday failed to resolve the issue on the real minority in the chamber.

A faction ledy by Suarez and another led by Rep. Romero Quimbo (Marikina City) are also claiming to be the chamber's minority bloc.

Rep. Teddy Baguilat (Ifugao) earlier Tuesday assailed The STAR for reporting that Suarez managed to keep leadership of the minority during Monday's session.

Baguilat, a member of the Liberal Party, said that no voting happened on the House floor on Monday.

Philstar.com is the online arm of the STAR Group of Publications, including The STAR.

De Vera assures Arroyo 'continued collaboration and cooperation'

In his letter, De Vera assured Arroyo of the minority's "continued collaboration and cooperation" to pursue the legislative agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Quimbo said that Suarez cannot be the leader of the minority as he and Rep. Lito Atienza (Buhay) supported Arroyo as the speaker of the chamber.

He said that all members of the minority who voted for Arroyo automatically became members of the majority bloc, a view shared by Fariñas.

Fariñas said that Suarez effectively "abandoned" the post of minority leader when he supported Arroyo.

The Ilocos Norte lawmaker said that De Vera should be recognized as the minority leader as he was the highest official of the minority who did not support Arroyo.

He also warned on Monday that he would elevate the matter before the Supreme Court if Suarez remains minority leader.

Rep. Alfredo Garbin (Ako Bicol party-list) and Atienza meanwhile argued that Suarez is still the minority leader.

Garbin said that the rules Quimbo was invoking could only be applied during the initial organization of the House and not to the succeeding elections for speaker.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: September 23, 2019 - 2:21pm

House members are reported to be staying after the SONA to elect a new speaker. Earlier, a power struggle in the House leadership happened between Rep. Gloria Arroyo and Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez.

Presidential daughter Sara Duterte was rumored to be behind the push for Arroyo to lead the lower chamber.

September 23, 2019 - 2:21pm

House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano says P100 million was not allocated for congressmen, but for districts in the 2020 budget. The amount, he says, was varying based on submissions of the representatives.

He insists, however, that the amount is not pork barrel, which was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Pork barrel was the lumpsum funds legislators received supposedly for projects in their districts. Controversies, however, point to massive corruption of the funds siphoned through bogus non-government organizations.

July 23, 2019 - 1:34pm

After yesterday's election that named President Duterte's running mate Alan Peter Cayetano the new House speaker, Rep. Bienvenido "Benny" Abante (Manila) wins the election installing him as new minority leader.

The minority bloc chose Abante at a convening of members. He was elected in mere seconds and faced no objections.

Abante was one of the two candidates for House speaker formally nominated at the opening of Congress yesterday ahead of the joint session with Senate and the president's State of the Nation Address. (PTV photo)

July 9, 2019 - 7:46am

President Rodrigo Duterte publicly naming who the next speaker of the House of Representatives will erode the lower house's independence, Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) says after the president's announcement that Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig) would share the term of speaker with Rep. Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque).

"As expected, contrary to his previous statements letting members of the House to freely choose their leaders, Pres. Duterte 'stepped in' in the House speakership race to salvage his already` fractious coalition and, hopefully, secure its survival until 2022," he says in a press statement.

Zarate, a member of the Makabayan bloc at the House, says even with the term-sharing agreement brokered by the president, "the different factions and their political and economic backers are expected to still wage a war of dominance in the coming days, especially with 2022 presidential elections already in the political horizon."

He adds: "With this politics of convenience and presidential intervention, the independence of the House is again severely compromised and the interest of the majority of the people sacrificed." 

July 6, 2019 - 12:46pm

Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, the president's son, says he is no longer vying for the top spot at the House of Representatives.

"I have personally spoken to President Rodrigo Duterte Thursday night in Davao City regarding my plan to run for speaker of the House of Representatives. We both agreed that this will not be the right time for me to be Speaker and I can still help his administration from the House in a different capacity," the younger Duterte says. 

"As President of Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod, I will support the bid for speakership of Congressman Isidro Ungab from our sister party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago," he adds.

July 5, 2019 - 3:38pm

As the rivalry for the speakership heats up, presidential children Rep. Paolo Duterte (Davao City) and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte form a "Duterte Coalition" as a call for unity at the House of Representatives. Paolo leads regional party-list Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod while Sara leads Hugpong ng Pagbabago.

Speaker hopefuls Reps. Alan Peter Cayetano (Taguig), Lord Allan Velasco (Marinduque) and Martin Romualdez (Leyte) are also being urged to be part of the coalition. Velasco, however, is the endorsed nominee of ruling party PDP-Laban.

Other members of the coalition are Reps. Isidro Ungab (Davao City), Vincent Garcia (Davao City), Corazon Malanyaon (Davao Oriental), Manuel Zamora (Compostella Valley), Lorna Bautista (Davao Occidental), Claudine Bautista (Dumper party-list), Sandro Gonzales (Marino party-list) and Anton Lopez (Marino party-list).

Velasco and Romualdez, meanwhile, also welcome the formation of the coalition in separate statements.

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