Ulysses Garces replaces De Vera as ABS representative in House
MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives cemented the removal of Eugene de Vera as Arts, Business, and Science Professionals (ABS) party-list representative with the oath-taking of Ulysses Garces on Monday, December 3.
Garces, the second nominee of ABS, took his oath before Deputy Speaker Raneo Abu during the session on Monday.
It was House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya who had moved for Garces to take his oath. But LPG Marketers' Association Representative Arnel Ty, an ally of De Vera, tried to block Garces’ oath-taking. Ty asked for the status of De Vera's motion for reconsideration, but Andaya said no such motion was filed on time.
Despite Ty's continued opposition, the House plenary pushed through with Garces' oath-taking.
The House leadership removed De Vera from the list of lawmakers after the ABS party expelled him. ABS said De Vera had failed to consult the party when he questioned the minority leadership of Quezon 3rd District Representative Danilo Suarez before the Supreme Court.
Citing jurisprudence from the Lico vs Comelec case, De Vera tagged his removal as unconstitutional. The lawyer said that only the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has jurisdiction to determine whether or not a congressman is a bona fide member of the party he is representing in the House.
Just like the arguments of election lawyer Emil Marañon III, De Vera said a party-list lawmaker may only be removed by the HRET or through expulsion with the concurrence of two-thirds of all members of the House. (READ: Fariñas: House's expulsion of De Vera 'mockery of our republicanism')
Neither scenario happened when he was removed as a congressman. Andaya merely ordered the House secretariat to remove De Vera from the roll of members, citing the letter of expulsion sent to the House leadership by ABS.
Andaya defended De Vera's removal by saying the latter had abandoned ABS through his candidacy for Marikina 2nd District congressman as an independent bet for the 2019 elections. – Rappler.com