LP-led House minority bloc now has 22 members, including Makabayan lawmakers

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Rep. Miro Quimbo (File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 30) — Seven lawmakers including four from the Makabayan group have joined forces with their Liberal Party (LP) colleagues under one of the factions vying to be recognized as the legitimate minority bloc at the House of the Representatives, where alliances continue to shift following a leadership change.

In a letter to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Marikina Representative Romero "Miro" Quimbo said his election as Minority Leader was confirmed during his group's organizational meeting on Monday.

 

A total of 22 members were included in the list that Quimbo submitted as part of his group, including 15 LP lawmakers.

Seven others applied to join and were accepted, Quimbo said, including Representatives Gary Alejano of Magdalo Party List, Tom Villarin of Akbayan Party List, and Josephine Ramirez-Sato. Sato is from LP but was not around during the vote for Arroyo and was not able to abstain as her other LP colleagues did.

The four Makabayan bloc members also accepted were Representatives Ariel Casilao, Frances Castro, Emmie de Jesus, and Sarah Jane Elago.

"The duly constituted and organized Minority is looking forward to working with you towards a fruitful and meaningful Third Regular Session," the statement said.

There has been confusion in the House ever since Arroyo was announced as the new Speaker last week.

In an interview on CNN Philippines' On the Record last July 26, Deputy House Speaker Nonoy Andaya said there were at least for factions vying for Minority leadership.

"So hindi lang ho isa o dalawang paksyon dito ang pinag-uusapan [So there isn't just one or two factions]. I think there are four factions all vying for the House minority leadership," he added. "And there's another group which still has to signify where they want to be – those who were absent from proceedings."

RELATED: Confusion at the House: Who is the new minority?

Former Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo however, told CNN Philippines that according to the rules, the Liberal Party is the minority.

"It's very, very clear, it does not require any interpretation," he told On the Record. "It says by definition majority members are those who vote for the ruling candidate and those who are in the minority are those who participated in the elections and voted for somebody who did not win or abstained."

He said LP members were the only ones who abstained, and were therefore, clearly the minority.

"I cannot imagine why there's even any debate," he said.

This story was updated on August 1, 2018.