Makabayan bloc boosts Zamora bid for Minority leader
MANILA, Philippines — The 7-member Makabayan bloc decided on Saturday, July 20, to vote for San Juan Rep Ronaldo Zamora in the Speakership battle Monday morning, July 22.
Quezon City Rep Feliciano Belmonte Jr is a shoo-in to retain his post as Speaker but the battle for the next Minority Leader between Zamora and Lakas bet Leyte Rep Martin Romualdez is heating up.
The candidate for Speaker who gets the 2nd highest number of votes automatically gets the House minority leadership post.
Makabayan is the official umbrella political organization of leftish party-list groups. It is believed to be the swing vote although it remains to be seen if Romualdez could get more votes from other party-list groups and political parties.
"We find common grounds with Rep Zamora in opposing the conditional cash transfer, privatization of public hospitals, violent demolitions of informal settlers and in pressing for national industrialization, modernization of agriculture, the release of all political prisoners and the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front," said the Makabayan bloc statement.
Speaking to Rappler, Bayan Muna Rep Neri Colmenares also recalled how they worked with Zamora in the impeachment cases against Arroyo. He said Zamora had always respected their independence.
Makabayan bloc is composed of Bayan Muna representatives Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, Gabriela representatives Luz Ilagan and Enmi de Jesus, Kabataan Rep Terry Ridon, Anakpawis Rep Fernando Hicap, and Act Teachers Rep Antonio Tinio.
Colmenares said Romualdez's links to former presidents Ferdinand Marcos and Gloria Arroyo affected their decision.
In the 15th Congress, Makabayan joined the majority under Speaker Belmonte. The bloc supported, for example, the administration's move to remove former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Colmenares was one of the prosecutors.
But Makabayan said they did not see "meaningful change" in the past 3 years of the administration of President Benigno Aquino III.
"Three years is enough for the nation to conclude that the Aquino regime's real bosses are not the people but the United States, the foreign and local monopolists and the landed oligarchy," the statement said. — Rappler.com