THE MINORITY bloc in the House of Representatives led by the opposition Liberal Party (LP) has formally challenged the minority leadership before the Supreme Court (SC), filing a case on Friday, Oct. 5.
In a press statement, Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero “Miro” S. Quimbo’s
“People’s Minority” bloc said it filed before the high court a “petition for certiorari, prohibition, and mandamus,” which seeks to “assail the recognition of Quezon Rep. Danilo E. Suarez as Minority Leader.”
The petition said Mr. Suarez’s posting is “contrary to the Rules of the House of Representatives and the ruling of the Court in the case of Baguilat v. Alvarez.”
The group added that “the Petition seeks the SC’s imprimatur to direct the House Leadership to recognize Rep. Quimbo as Minority Leader.”
Mr. Quimbo said in the statement that they do not expect a swift resolution of the case, but they filed anyway “to ensure that our institutions remain bound by law and logic.”
The current congressmen’s term of office is ending next year after the May mid-term elections.
“We vowed that we would take this matter all the way up to the Supreme Court, and that is precisely what we have done… Judging from the previous case of Baguilat v. Alvarez which also dealt with the issue of House Minority leadership, it is likely this case will take months to resolve, possibly close to the end of our current terms. Nonetheless, we are committed to pursuing this,” Mr. Quimbo said.
Mr. Quimbo’s group cited in its petition “Section 8, Rule II of the Rules of the House of Representatives, which states that House Members who vote for a winning candidate for House Speaker constitute the Majority in the House, as well as the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Baguilat et al. v. Alvarez et al. (G.R. No. 227757, 25 July 2017), which affirmed that those who vote for losing candidates for Speaker and those who abstain from voting constitute the Minority.”
The group noted that “in the aftermath of the election of now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last July 23, a struggle for the House Minority leadership erupted between the Quimbo-led People’s Minority and the group led by Rep. Danilo Suarez, who was the Minority Leader during the time of then-Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. This despite the fact that it was only the members of the People’s Minority who either abstained or voted ‘NO’ during the said election.”
“It was the House Majority which eventually resolved the impasse when it recognized, through viva voce voting on August 7, Rep. Suarez as Minority Leader even though Rep. Suarez spearheaded and voted for the election of Rep. Macapagal-Arroyo as Speaker,” Mr. Quimbo’s group added.
Mr. Quimbo said, “It is plain to see, not only under House Rules but also through our actions, that we are the only group which can claim to be the genuine Minority in the House of Representatives. Even deprived of an official title we have functioned as the legitimate check and balance in the House.”
The members of the Quimbo-led group include LP Reps. Francis Gerald Abaya, Vincent Alcala, Isagani Amatong, Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jorge “Bolet” Banal, Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte, Emmanuel Billiones, Gabriel Bordado Jr., Raul Daza, Edgar Erice, Edcel Lagman, Jocelyn Sy Limkaichong, Romero “Miro” Quimbo, and Josephine “Nene” Ramirez-Sato; Makabayan bloc Reps. Arlene Brosas, Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, France Castro, Emmi De Jesus, Sarah Jane Elago, Antonio Tinio, and Carlos Isagani Zarate; Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin; Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano; and Anak Mindanao Reps. Amihilda Sangcopan and Makmod Mending Jr. — Arjay L. Balinbin