House leadership on SC petition vs Suarez: ‘That’s garbage’

Mara Cepeda
House leadership on SC petition vs Suarez: ‘That’s garbage’
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez says the Supreme Court cannot be compelled to interfere in the affairs of Congress because of the separation of powers

MANILA, Philippines – Both Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas dismissed the petition several lawmakers filed before the Supreme Court (SC) challenging the minority leadership of Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez. 

Wala ‘yan. Garbage ‘yan (That’s nothing. That’s garbage). It will not prosper, I tell you. As a lawyer, that’s nothing,” said Alvarez on the sidelines of the thanksgiving dinner of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) on Wednesday night, November 16. 

The 7-member House independent minority bloc, who call themselves the “Magnificent 7,” filed a petition for mandamus urging the High Court to recognize Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat Jr as the rightful minority leader following Suarez’s controversial election.

Aside from Baguilat, the lawmakers who filed the petition include: 

  • Edcel Lagman, Albay 1st District
  • Raul Daza, Northern Samar 1st District
  • Edgar Erice, Caloocan City 2nd District
  • Emmanuel Billones, Capiz 1st District
  • Tom Villarin, Akbayan
  • Gary Alejano, Magdalo 

But Alvarez said the SC cannot interfere in Congress’ affairs because of the separation of powers of the 3 branches of government. 

“Of course not! May (There is) separation of powers! ‘Yun pa lang, patay na eh (As early as that stage, the petition is dead already),” said Alvarez.

In their petition, the Magnificent 7 bloc also wants the SC justices to compel Alvarez and Fariñas to recognize Baguilat as minority leader and to consider the rest of them as minority members.  

Puwede bang i-compel ang Congress eh pagkatapos kami lang ni Speaker [ang nasa petition]? Anong magagawa namin ni Speaker? Wala ‘yan. Matatalo sila diyan,” said Fariñas.  

(Can they compel Congress to recognize them and yet only me and Speaker are cited in the petition? What can we do? That’s nothing. They will lose.) 

Suarez earlier slammed the petition against him, saying it reveals the alleged intention of the Liberal Party (LP) to “monopolize” power at the House

Baguilat, Lagman, Daza, Erice, and Billones all belong to the LP. The rest of their party mates signed a coalition agreement with PDP-Laban to join the supermajority bloc. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.