Suarez new minority head after Lagman

Posted on January 04, 2012

QUEZON REP. Danilo E. Suarez (3rd district) will assume the post of minority leader when Congress resumes sessions on Jan. 16, replacing Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman (1st district) under a term-sharing agreement.

“I will assume the post on Jan. 16,” Mr. Suarez said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Lagman was not immediately available for comment.

Mr. Suarez said the change in leadership was agreed upon by the minority bloc at the start of the 15th Congress in July 2010.

“The agreement was done in 2010. There was supposedly a vote, but we agreed not to because we’re already a very small bloc,” he said, noting that only 34 out 285 congressmen belong to the group.

The minority leader is elected in a caucus of all members of the minority party, although by tradition the losing candidate for House speaker is named as minority leader.

As minority leader, Mr. Suarez will be both the spokesman of the minority and will be an ex-officio member of all standing committees.

Asked for his plans, Mr. Suarez said he will start a minority oversight committee which will track the accomplishments of agencies.

“We [minority bloc] will conduct hearings during the break on March to April so we can properly grade or rate the Executive branch before President [Benigno S. C.] Aquino [III] delivers his SONA (State of the Nation Address),” he said. The minority bloc has been identified with Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd disytrict). -- A. S. O. Alegado