Fariñas, Quimbo worry over rushed Minority leadership decision

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 1) — The power struggle at the House of Representatives continues, with lawmakers expressing concern that the decision about the minority leadership may be railroaded.

Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo "Rudy" Fariñas and Marikina Representative Romero "Miro" Quimbo said they are worried Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez's appointment as Minority Leader might be expedited.

"Tingin ko syempre gusto nilang madaliin as much as they can para matapos na. It is good to rush ang ibang bagay pero pag minamadali mo ang isang kamalian mahirap ipagtanggol," Quimbo said.

[Translation: I believe they want to expedite it as much as they can so they can be done with it. It is good to rush some things, but it is difficult to defend something that is wrong.]

Both lawmakers believe Suarez could be recognized as Minority Leader so the Majority would have a hold over the bloc.

Fariñas and Quimbo are members of separate groups angling to be recognized as the Minority.

While Fariñas and Quimbo are aiming for the same position, they both agreed that Suarez should not be Minority Leader because he is a member of the Majority and a supporter of Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

They maintain that under House Rules, those who voted in favor of the winning Speaker should be part of the majority bloc.

The Makabayan bloc fears there would be no checks and balances at the House of Representatives should Suarez assume the post.

Fariñas said he would elevate the issue to the Supreme Court if it would not be resolved until Thursday.

"We will just force the hand of the leadership on the issue to make a decision. Pag hinonor nila si Suarez [If they honor Suarez], we can go to the Supreme Court para dun madecide yan [so it can be decided there]," said Faiñas.

There are three blocs claiming to be the Minority: one led by ABS-Partylist Representative Eugene De Vera, another by Suarez, and the Liberal Party and Makabayan bloc.

Suarez's camp, however, assured the public that despite being friends with Arroyo, they would remain a constructive minority group.

"Maraming issue na magkakontra kami ni GMA (Gloria Macapagal Arroyo). There was even one sensitive issue na nagtampo siya sa death penalty. Constructive kami sa minority," Suarez said.

[Translation: There are many issues that GMA and i do not agree on. There was even one sensitive issue and she was annoyed over the death penalty. We will be constructive in the Minority.]

As proof they are the true minority, Suarez's Deputy Minority Leader Alfredo Garbin Jr. said 10 congressmen from the majority recently applied to join Suarez's group.

This brought the number of members to 26 – the biggest among three groups vying for recognition as the real minority bloc.

Meanwhile, PDP-Laban President Koko Pimentel said he has called for a meeting of what he calls the "real" members of the party Thursday.

 

That, after PDP-Laban's national council ousted him as president and Davao del Norte Representative and former House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez as secretary general last week.

Pimentel said they would regroup and prepare for a consultation with the President.

CNN Philippines' Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.