Arroyo ally is House minority leader

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Rep. Danilo Suarez

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 7) — The House of Representatives approved the motion of Majority Leader Nonoy Andaya to recognize Danilo Suarez as the minority leader.

Andaya's motion during session Tuesday afternoon was decided upon by the plenary through a voice vote, or by lawmakers shouting ayes and nays.

Suarez got to keep his post despite campaigning and voting for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to be House Speaker.

Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo raised "continuing objection" against the recognition of Suarez as minority leadership.

"This representation would like to put on record our continuing objection of the recognition of Congressman Danilo Suarez as the Minority leader for simply being illegal, not in due course, and at the same time in direct violation of the Supreme Court decision," he said.

He cited the case of Baguilat vs. Alvarez, wherein the high court upheld the rule in the House of Representatives that the minority leader should be elected by members of the minority.

Quimbo earlier claimed that he was the rightful minority leader after he was elected by a group of congressmen who either voted against House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo or abstained during her election in July.

He said they would take the necessary rigors needed to bring order to the House of Representatives following this decision.

Former House Minority Leader Rudy Farinas also maintained that he was against recognizing Suarez as minority leader.

Farinas earlier said that if the plenary decided to retain Suarez as minority leader, he would question the decision before the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Caloocan City Representative Edgar Erice believes Suarez will not be able to deliver check and balance in the House because he is a close ally of Arroyo.

"Yung mismong minority leader ang umamin na kaya maraming gustong sumali sa minority kasi malapit siya sa Speaker. How can you expect a minority leader so close to the Speaker to deliver check and balance in this House?" he said.

[Translation:The minority leader himself admitted that his closeness to the Speaker was the reason why a lot of people wanted to join the minority. How can you expect a minority leader so close to the Speaker to deliver check and balance in this House?]

Erice also pointed out, in an interview with CNN Philippines, Suarez's statement about keeping his position as minority leader for legacy, and not leaving its office that he constructed.

"Again the reply of Suarez is simple, because I want to leave a legacy, I want to retire from Congress as Minority leader. Ms. Pinky Webb even replied that isn't that too personal to be a reason? And Mr. Suarez added, 'ayokong alisan yung aking opisina kasi ginastusan ko yan [I don't want to leave my office because I spent for that].' Ang sagot ni Pinky Webb, hindi ba selfish yang ganyang reason?" Erice said.

In the interview on July 31, Suarez said, "Retiring from Congress as minority leader is something that I envisioned to wind up my career... Plus, the fact I don't want them to take my office. I built my office myself."

Erice said Suarez's statements put into question the credibility of the House of Representatives.

Suarez, however, maintained theirs was a constructive minority, and explained that he believes the job of the minority is to watch for the executive department's performance.

"Ang minority po, 80 percent ng trabaho ng minority ay bantayan ang ginagawa ng executive department. Nung ako ang minority at oversight, Congress on break, tuloy-tuloy meeting ng aking committees at kasamahan because we need to see to it that the expenditures of the government is properly accounted for. And that's what we plan to do in the 2019 budget," he said.

[Translation: Eighty percent of the minority's job is to watch over what's happening at the executive department. When I was minority and oversight, Congress on break, my committees and colleagues continued to work because we need to see to it that the expenditures of the government are properly accounted for. And that's what we plan to do in the 2019 budget.]

"I repeat and I will be like a broken record. Ang minority since the time I assumed office is constructive. Hindi po kami destructive. And with this remaining session in the 17th Congress, halos tatlong buwan na lang tayo magtatrabaho, bakit pa tayo mag-aaway e napakadaming trabaho kelangan natin gampanan?" he said.

[Translation:I repeat and I will be like a broken record. The minority, since the time I assumed office, is constructive. We are not destructive. And with this remaining session in the 17th Congress, we only have around three months to work. Why should we fight when there are a lot of things to be done?]