Retaining Suarez as minority leader based on ‘precedents’

MANILAHouse Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. on Wednesday said the retention of Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez as the minority leader was based on precedents.

During a privilege speech, Andaya noted that "previous practices and traditions" form part of the rules of the House.

Andaya cited the first case where former Speaker Arnulfo Fuentebella replaced then Speaker Manuel Villar in 2000.

Andaya, who was then minority leader during that time, voted for the winning Speaker and still retained his position.

"After the votation, I ended up still in the minority," Andaya said.

He also cited the ouster of then Speaker Jose de Venecia, who was replaced by former Davao City Rep. Prospero Nograles in 2008.

Andaya said members of the minority who voted for Nograles still remained in the minority.

He also noted that then minority leader Ronaldo Zamora was still recognized as the bloc's head even after the leadership change.

On Tuesday, lawmakers approved via voice vote Andaya's motion to recognize Suarez as the minority leader after a two-week long leadership row.

"There are precedents to this. This is not unique. This has happened three times. There is legal basis," Andaya said.

Andaya stressed that House Rule II Section 8 "does not apply in any way whatsoever" in this situation.

The said House rule states that "members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House and they shall elect from among themselves the Majority Leader."

"We are in a situation that there is a subsequent leadership change not involving the entire organization of the House," he said.

Other factions that vied for the opposition bloc include the Liberal Party-Makabayan bloc led by Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo as well as the allies of ousted Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who elected ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene de Vera as their minority leader.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo FariAas earlier warned that he will bring the minority issue before the Supreme Court to resolve the leadership issue if it will insist Suarez as the minority leader.

Quimbo said his group is also considering taking the leadership issue before the high court. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency