Andaya: De Vera abandoned his party-list

Published November 20, 2018, 6:49 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Ellson Quismorio

As far as House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya is concerned, erstwhile ABS Party-List Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera “abandoned” his own party-list group and is, thus, no longer a bonafide member of the Chamber.

Newly elected House Majority Floor Leader and Camarines Sur Rep. Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
House Majority Floor Leader Rolando “Nonoy” Andaya Jr. (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

De Vera did so when he filed his candidacy for congressman in Marikina City for the 2019 midterm elections, Andaya said on Tuesday.

“Let me put it in a very simple and understandable way. Ang nakaupo dito sa Kongreso at yung pino-proclaim ng Comelec, yung party-list. Hindi yung nominee ng party-list (As proclaimed by Comelec, the seat in Congress belongs to the party-list. Not the nominee of the party-list),” he said in an impromptu press briefing.

In the case of ABS Party-List, De Vera was just a mere nominee, as is just one of several from the party-list.

“Here we have a unique situation in which Congressman De Vera filed for candidacy in Marikina for congressman. In effect, once you have done that, you have abandoned your being a member of that party-list because you will run under a different political party,” said Andaya, who represents the first district of Camarines Sur.

“[De Vera] himself has repudiated or distanced himself from his own party-list. It’s either he filed under a political party or an independent. But be that as it may, his filing of a COC (certificate of candidacy) in Marikina gives the message that he no longer represents ABS Party-List. That is the practical reason in removing him, on top of the decision by ABS Party-List to expel him,” he said.

During Monday’s plenary session, Andaya ordered the Secretary General to drop De Vera’s name from the roll of members. This, after he bared on the floor that ABS party-list president Catalina Pizarro had informed him that De Vera had been expelled as member by the board.

At that time, Andaya did not mention anything about De Vera’s COC.

“That’s public knowledge. You can check the website of Comelec…Doon lang sa praktikal na aspeto na iyon, iniwan na niya ang kanyang party-list (In that practical aspect alone, he has left his party-list),” the Majority Leader clarified during the briefing.

A staff from De Vera’s office later confirmed that the erstwhile solon had indeed filed for candidacy as Marikina 2nd district representative. He is said to run as an independent.

“That’s totally inconsistent. How can you represent a nationwide party-list, with a nationwide constituency, and now file representation for just one district?” noted Andaya, who is a lawyer.

“Doon pa lang wala na tayong pag-uusapan. Yung mga legalities na yan, hindi na po natin kailangang daanin dyan (That alone finishes the argument. We don’t even need to go through the legalities).”

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) accepted COCs from poll aspirants between October 11 and 17.

Another party-list representative in LPGMA Party-List Rep. Arnel Ty later debated Andaya on the floor Tuesday afternoon regarding De Vera’s ouster. The former brought up the cases of several outgoing party-list congressmen, who, despite filing COCs for local posts, kept their House seats.

The Majority Leader responded by saying that there is no issue regarding the memberships of these solons unless their party-lists kick them out as well, like what happened to De Vera.

“The party-list nominee can’t be higher than the party-list. That is totally illogical. The nominees are just the embodiment of the party-list,” Andaya said.