Quimbo doesn’t see LP leaving House coalition

Mara Cepeda
Quimbo doesn’t see LP leaving House coalition
Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo says the supposed plot against President Rodrigo Duterte is 'all hogwash'

MANILA, Philippines – House Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo does not see the Liberal Party (LP) severing ties with the ruling administration party any time soon.

“Let me just point out that I don’t look forward to a divided Congress. So far, Speaker [Pantaleon] Alvarez has lent to us an even hand and has treated us much like he treats other parties. So I don’t see any reason why we should anticipate that there’s going to be a war,” said the Marikina 2nd District Representative in a Rappler Talk interview on Wednesday, January 11.

“But certainly, if there are major disagreements that are contrary to the principles of the history of the party, we will not hesitate to sever,” added Quimbo.

He was asked if there is a chance for the LP to turn opposition in the House following Vice President Leni Robredo’s resignation from the Duterte Cabinet.  

The Vice President resigned as housing czar after Duterte barred her from attending Cabinet meetings. The President accused Robredo of attending rallies calling for his ouster, an accusation that she categorically denied. (READ: Palace: Duterte, Robredo have ‘irreconcilable differences’

Pro-Duterte bloggers have recently floated rumors that Robredo is supposedly conniving with United States-based groups to oust the President. (READ: #LeniLeaks: Speculations based on fragmented emails)

Days later, Robredo was disinvited to Duterte’s New Year’s Day Vin d’Honneur in Malacañang, an annual event usually attended by vice presidents.

The LP, the party of former president Benigno Aquino III, saw many of its members jump ship to PDP-Laban after Duterte won the 2016 presidential polls.  

Now, only 32 lawmakers remain in the LP, with 27 congressmen choosing to sign a coalition agreement with PDP-Laban and the other 5 deciding to form the opposition in the independent minority bloc.  

‘Outnumbered, but not outfought’ 

Duterte has also previously accused the LP of plotting to overthrow him, which the party has repeatedly denied given their lack of numbers to do so. (READ: Belmonte: ‘Zero’ chances for Duterte impeachment

“Just like taxes, you have to see first if you have the capacity, right? We are obviously a decimated party at this point. We are outnumbered, but we are never outfought. But you need some numbers to be able to do that,” said Quimbo. 

The lawmaker believes there is no reason for Duterte to be removed as President at this time, given his 72% public trust rating in a Social Weather Stations survey released in December 2016.  

“I don’t think any person who thinks about removing a President with that popularity is not only anti-Philippines but is downright stupid. So it’s all hogwash. It’s an invention by somebody who’s got very little, who has so much time in [his] hands,” said Quimbo. 

He said the people who are publicizing supposed plans to oust Duterte are doing a “preemptive move” against the President. 

“And [it’s] probably a preemptive move… They’re doing a disservice to the President because unintentionally, they are making the President insecure, which he is not. But with that effort and these things, it’s obviously a trial balloon technique,” said Quimbo.

“They’ll raise it so they can paint people who criticize as being not just there to criticize but they’re also there to overthrow. I think in the long run,  it raises more questions. Why, is there a need to overthrow? So I think it unduly betrays some people’s insecurity and I don’t think it’s fair to the President,” he added. – 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.