New House Minority Leader wants ‘critical collaboration’ with admin
MANILA, Philippines – Newly elected House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr wants his bloc to have an “objective, critical collaboration” with the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Manila 6th District representative told this to the minority lawmakers who formally elected him as their leader on Tuesday, July 23.
“I have made a public statement that I would like the minority coalition to have an objective, critical collaboration with the administration. We are not here to oppose only because we want to oppose. We do not want to be destructive,” said Abante.
Abante’s words echoed similar statements made by former Quezon 3rd District representative Danilo Suarez, whose 3-year minority leadership in the previous 17th Congress was challenged 3 times in the Supreme Court.
Abante’s leadership is already being questioned by staunch opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, who said Abante became Minority Leader only because the majority bloc had allowed it.
During Abante’s meeting with the minority, however, he clarified they would not be a “company union.”
The Minority Leader made the promise as a reply to Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado, who said the minority bloc should strive to prove to the public that they would not be subservient to the majority.
Bordado is party mates with Lagman in the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP).
“I am reacting to comments of one of the members of the House of Representatives questioning the validity of the opposition group or this minority group. I do hope that we can do something to convince our people that we are really keen on coming up with things that should serve them well,” said Bordado.
This was followed by a quick statement by another LP member and Zamboanga del Norte 3rd District Representative Isagani Amatong, who said, “We should not be a company union!”
Abante acknowledged this, saying: “Definitely yes, we will not be a company union. I assure you that.”
On Tuesday, the freshly minted Minority Leader said the members of his bloc are free to speak out their personal views on any issues, provided they always clarify this is not the opinion of the minority bloc as a whole.
When it comes to our advocacy, we are united as one. When it comes to preferences, we have liberty to speak of – that would be my line of leading the minority bloc,” said Abante.
“And of course, I always work by consensus. I will not be in any way [be] someone that will try to force you to do what you don’t want to do. You are free to express your sentiment, to voice out your sentiment,” he added. – Rappler.com