Who says Rowena Guanzon doesn't have a supporter among the members of the House of Representatives?
During plenary session Monday afternoon, Feb. 20, Kabataan Party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel delivered a privilege speech calling on the House to let P3PWD Party-list nominee Guanzon assume her seat as congresswoman.
"For a person to become a member of the House of Representatives, kailangan ang tatlong bagay (three things are needed): proclamation, oath of office at (and) assumption of office. Nakapag-comply dito ang P3PWD Party-list (P3PWD Party-list complied with this)," Manuel, a Makabayan bloc member, said.
P3PWD Party-list stands for Komunidad ng Pamilya Pasyente at Persons with Disabilities.
Manuel said a proclamation occurred on June 22, 2022.
Manuel said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recognized its first nominee, who was also able to take her oath that same day. "The first nominee assumed office on June 30, 2022," he recalled.
"That said, Hon. Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon, the first nominee of P3PWD Party-list, is a member of the House of Representatives and should be able to participate in our sessions and activities as our colleague. Also, if there are any concerns regarding their qualification, those should be settled in the HRET (House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal)," he noted.
But Manuel said that the seat P3PWD Party-list won during last year's elections has remained vacant in the first eight months of the current 19th Congress.
"Ang bawat buwan ng patuloy na kawalan ng kinatawan ng nasabing party-list ay nagdudulot ng hindi na mababawing disenfranchisement sa persons with disabilities (Each month that passes by wherein the party-list has no representation causes irreversible disenfranchisement to persons with disabilities).
"Also, delays in allowing a duly elected party-list group to sit in Congress will weaken our collective mandate as representatives of the people and can erode public trust in our institutions," the militant solon said.
"Para sa pagpapatatag ng ating Kongreso, nananawagan kami na panahon na upang malugod nating tanggapin bilang kapwa mambabatas ang representasyon ng P3PWD sa Kongreso (In order to strengthen Congress, we say that it is now time that we accept as a fellow lawmaker P3PWD's representative here in Congress)," he added.
The Supreme Court (SC) had earlier blocked Guanzon's assumption of her House seat. As such, she is not yet listed on the roll.
Guanzon apparently knew in advance about fellow administration critic Manuel's privilege speech.
"Cong Raoul Manuel of Kabataan PL will deliver a privilege speech tomorrow. Leaders of PWD organizations will be present," she tweeted on Sunday, Feb. 19.