No genuine House minority under Danilo Suarez, says Robredo
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo slammed the decision of the House of Representatives to retain Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez as minority leader.
Robredo said she was “deeply saddened” after lawmakers still recognized Suarez for the post even if he had campaigned and voted for Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the new speaker. Suarez is a staunch Arroyo ally.
“Pagkakataon sana ito para sa bagong pamunuan ng Kamara na ipakitang handa itong itaguyod ang malaya at makabuluhang diskurso sa pamamagitan ng pagkilala sa isang tunay na minority. Binigo tayo ng liderato ng Kamara sa pagkakataong ito,” said the Vice President.
(This should have been an opportunity for the new House leadership to show that it is ready to uphold a free and meaningful discourse by recognizing a genuine minority. But the House leadership has failed us.
Robredo’s party mate at the Liberal Party (LP), Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo, has previously claimed he was the “duly elected” minority leader of his bloc composed of lawmakers from LP, Makabayan, and the “Magnificent 7” independent minority bloc. Robredo is LP chairperson.
Quimbo, Suarez, and Arts, Business, and Science Professions Representative Eugene de Vera were all fighting over the minority leadership since the dramatic House coup that unseated Davao del Norte 1st District Representative Pantaleon Alvarez as speaker and elected Arroyo in his place on July 23. (READ: The women behind the fall of Alvarez)
Quimbo and former House majority leader Rodolfo Fariñas, who belongs to De Vera’s bloc, have vowed to file separate cases with the Supreme Court to question Suarez’s minority leadership.
Former Quezon 4th District representative Erin Tañada, who is now LP vice president for external affairs, said Suarez’s minority leadership means the House will “continue to have a mutual admiration club.”
“With Rep. Danilo Suarez's tight grip on the post of Minority Leader, the entire House of Representatives is tarnished anew with the image of being fake, subservient, and uncritical. Instead of a vibrant and deliberative chamber, we will continue to have a mutual admiration club,” he said.
Still, both Robredo and Tañada trust that Quimbo and the rest of the lawmakers in the LP-Makabayan-Magnificent 7 bloc would function as the “real opposition bloc” in the House.
“Sa kabila nito, tiwala ako na ang tunay na minority, sa pamumuno ni Rep. Miro Quimbo, ay patuloy na maninindigan para sa kanilang mga ipinaglalabang karapatang pantao, sa soberaniya ng ating bansa, at sa kapakanan ng mga Pilipinong hindi laging napakikinggan,” said the Vice President.
(Despite this, I trust that the genuine minority, under the leadership of Rep Miro Quimbo, will continue to stand up for their advocacies on human rights, sovereignty of our country, and the welfare of Filipinos whose voices are not normally heard.)