The group of ousted speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas has asked the high court to stop the House leadership from continuing to recognize Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as minority leader.
Boy Santos
2 groups bring House minority row to Supreme Court
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The squabble between two minority groups in the House of Representatives has reached the Supreme Court (SC).

The group of ousted speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and former majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas has asked the high court to stop the House leadership from continuing to recognize Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as minority leader.

Fariñas yesterday released a copy of their petition filed with the tribunal last Aug. 30. Aside from Alvarez, his co-petitioners are the 10 other members of their group, including their chosen minority leader, Eugene Michael de Vera of party-list group Arts, Business and Sciences.

The Ilocos Norte congressman and former majority leader drafted and signed the petition as counsel for himself and his group.

Named respondents were Suarez, Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr.

Sought for comment, Suarez said he welcomed the Alvarez group’s petition, saying, “It would lead to the resolution of this issue again. The Supreme Court already recognized me as minority leader in 2017. Since then, I have not relinquished my post, so there has been no vacancy to fill.”

For his part, Andaya said, “We recognize and respect their right to seek redress from the Supreme Court. The House leadership will continue with the business of the day under the present organizational setup. We have a full docket of bills to pass. We will commence plenary debates on the 2019 budget next week.”

In 2016, the group of Edcel Lagman of Albay and Teodoro Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao challenged the recognition of Suarez by then speaker Alvarez and majority leader Fariñas as minority leader.

The Supreme Court, in a ruling handed down in July last year, upheld such recognition.

In its petition, the Alvarez-Fariñas-De Vera group invoked the tribunal’s ruling in the Baguilat versus Suarez case, in which the high court cited the rules of the House on membership in the majority and the minority.

Fariñas said the rules provide that “members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker belong to the majority,” while those who vote against or abstain constitute the minority.

He said since Suarez voted for Speaker Arroyo, he should be considered to have effectively given up his post as minority leader in favor of membership in the majority.

He said senior deputy minority leader Lito Atienza of Buhay also voted for Arroyo.

Thus, De Vera, as deputy minority leader, ascended to the minority post since the latter did not vote for the new Speaker, he stressed.

Fariñas impressed upon the SC the need to resolve the minority issue soon, noting it took the high tribunal 10 months to rule on the Baguilat-Suarez case, which period he described as “speedy by any standard.”

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PANTALEON ALVAREZ SUPREME COURT
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with