Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has denounced the suspicious reappointment of Quezon 3rd District Rep. Danilo Suarez as Minority leader at the Lower House despite voting for Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo as Speaker.
De Lima, the first prominent political prisoner under the Duterte regime, maintained that Suarez’s selection as the head of the House minority bloc is wrong on all accounts — legally, politically, and morally.
“It goes against the ruling of the Supreme Court that the Minority in the House, especially the Minority leader, should necessarily come from those who did not vote with the Majority in the choice of the House Speaker,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 358.
After House Majority Leader Rolando Andaya Jr. moved to recognize Suarez as House Minority leader, lawmakers from the “supermajority” coalition voted to retain Suarez as the leader of the minority bloc last Aug. 7.
Aside from Suarez, those who vied for the minority leadership post include Liberal Party member and Marikina 2nd District Rep. Romero Quimbo and ABS Partylist Rep. Eugene De Vera.
Several lawmakers reportedly objected to the Lower Chamber’s recognition of Suarez as the Minority Leader especially because he voted for Arroyo as House Speaker.
According to House rules, “members who vote for the winning candidate for Speaker shall constitute the Majority in the House.”
De Lima said that choosing Suarez as House Minority leader is a blatant effort by the House leadership under Arroyo to undermine any semblance of a genuine opposition.
“Although this is not surprising, considering that we would not expect any better from a former Machiavellian President with a record of plunder and election manipulation, it is still a demonstration of how the rule of law is consistently dismissed in this administration,” she said.
“It is only right that this action of the House leadership is assailed before the Supreme Court as another attack on our democratic institutions and processes,” she added.
The former justice secretary said the Liberal Party-led coalition – which she considers the “true minority” – is now faced with a challenge to function as “authentic fiscalizers” and continue performing its duties as the genuine minority bloc.
“They need only to act as the conscience of our nation… #NoToFakeMinority,” she said.