Minority groups contest Suarez leadership, to file petitions in SC

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 8) — Two House minority groups plan to file with the Supreme Court (SC) petitions to contest the leadership of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez (3rd District).

A number of lawmakers slammed the appointment of Suarez as the new minority leader, which the House of Representatives officially approved Tuesday.

Former House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep Rudy Fariñas (1st District) and Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo (2nd District) said their minority groups plan to elevate their cases to the SC as they continue to question the new leadership.

Fariñas on Wednesday said Suarez abandoned his post when he voted for Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District) as the new House Speaker.

He cited an earlier SC decision on Baguilat vs Alvarez, which stated that those who vote in favor of the Speaker shall be part of the majority bloc.

Quimbo said he is the minority leader elected by the 'rightful' minority group, composed of representatives who voted against Arroyo or abstained from the voting.

Like Fariñas, Quimbo quoted the same ruling and believed the plenary's decision to elect Suarez, a known Arroyo ally, was illegal.

Suarez did not deny close ties with the new House Speaker.

"I'm not denying that I'm close to the former president and incumbent Speaker," Suarez said.

"Unang-una, mag-Cabalen kami, Kapampangan din ako eh," he added.

(Translation: First of all, we are from the same province. I am also from Pampanga).

Despite the criticisms, the new minority leader said his minority group, per Arroyo's order, will begin working, and that they will look into the priorities and legislative agenda of the Duterte administration.

"Ang sabi niya, mag-trabaho na tayo. (She said, let's start working). And I would expect that what she means is let me do my part as speaker, you do yours as the minority leader," Suarez said.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.