Alvarez, allies elect De Vera as minority leader

MANILA Former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and his allies at the House of Representatives have elected ABS partylist Rep. Eugene de Vera as their minority leader.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo FariAas said on Thursday their group, composed of 13 members, have "unanimously elected" de Vera as the new minority leader during their meeting at 9 a.m.

The members include: de Vera, Alvarez, FariAas, Pampanga Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Southern Leyte Rep. Roger Mercado, Leyte Rep. Lucy Gomez, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, LPGMA partylist Rep. Arnel Ty, Lapu-Lapu City Rep. Aileen Radaza, Compostela Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Makati City Rep. Manuel Monsour Del Rosario III, and Lanao del Sur Rep. Mauyag Papandayan Jr.

The issue on the composition of the minority and its leadership remains unresolved as plenary debates have been held on the matter.

The three factions coveting the opposition bloc are the following: Alvarez' allies; the Liberal Party-Makabayan bloc led by Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo; and Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez' group, which seeks to retain its minority status despite the fact that 14 of its 17 members voted for Arroyo as Speaker.

FariAas earlier said de Vera is the acting minority leader after most of Suarez' bloc abandoned the minority by voting for Arroyo.

FariAas, during Monday's session, warned the current leadership that he will bring the minority issue before the Supreme Court if it will insist on Suarez as the minority leader.

According to House rules, the minority bloc will be comprised of congressmen who did not vote for the elected Speaker.

The rules also state that members who voted for the winning candidate automatically become part of the majority.

Source: Philippine News Agency