By Ellson Quismorio
Opposition congressman Albay 1st district Rep. Edcel Lagman reckoned Sunday that those jockeying for the House Speakership who happened to be allies of President Rodrigo Duterte should just choose a “common administration candidate” among themselves.
This would raise the chances that the eventual Minority Leader would represent a “genuine opposition” in the House of Representatives, Lagman said.
“The Members of the House of Representatives who have declared their intention to run for Speaker all belong to the supermajority and many of them are even seeking the anointment of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Lagman said in a statement.
“Since the declared aspirants, without any exception, are with the coalesced parties of the administration, then they should agree among themselves to field a common administration candidate,” he said.
“A lone Duterte candidate for Speaker would foreclose the eventually of a losing administration aspirant becoming the majority’s Minority Leader, an aberration which happened in the 17th Congress,” Lagman added.
Reportedly eyeing the top House post in the upcoming 18th Congress is former speaker, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez; former senator and incoming Taguig City Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano; incoming Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez; Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco; and Majority Leader, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro.
Traditionally, the congressman who ends up in second place in the Chamber’s voting for the Speaker gets named as the Minority Leader.
But for the 17th Congress, another round of voting was done wherein Quezon 3rd district Rep. Danilo Suarez controversially emerged as the Minority Leader.
The Suarez Bloc has been repeatedly criticized by Lagman and the rest of the self-styled opposition faction dubbed “The Magnificent Seven” as being a “co-opted Minority” and a “company union.”
“The Minority Leader must (1) represent the genuine opposition in the House; (2) articulate and pursue differing views; (3) act as a courageous sentinel of the people’s rights and sentiments; and (4) not be beholden to the administration nor an adjunct of the supermajority,” Lagman said.
“A genuine Minority leader can only be assured if he or she is neither a member or a partisan of the administration nor handpicked by the ruling majority,” the Liberal Party (LP) stalwart said, referring to an instance in August 2018 when the newly-constituted House leadership under Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo retained the Minority Leadership of Suarez via plenary vote.
The 17th Congress will officially come to close on June 30.